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Which is better, with or w/o 'down'?

1. She sat [down] at the piano, and start to play Mozart.
2. She sat [down] at the piano playing Mozart.
3. She was sitting [down] at the piano playing Mozart.

Thank you very much.
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"down" turns a posture into the action of assuming that posture.

If she is playing the piano (particularly Mozart - good choice!), then she is continuously in the sitting position, which is quite appropriate for playing that instrument, don't you think? Emotion: smile

Therefore, "playing", which says "in the act of playing" won't go with "sit down", which is the action of going from a standing to a sitting position.

If she sat down playing Mozart, then she was already playing Mozart while standing and, still while playing, she went into a sitting position. Sounds rather uncomfortable, doesn't it? Emotion: smile

Now I think you can fairly easily see that Example 1 should have "sat down" and the other two should have "sat" and "was sitting" only.

That said, and here's the tricky part, when the progressive tense is used, the progressive indicates continuity, so a progressive tense with "down" CAN be used. So Example 3 can also be "She was sitting down at the piano playing Mozart" because the progressive (also called "continuous") makes it clear that the action of taking the sitting position is not what is meant.

Clear?

I hope so. Emotion: smile
Comments  
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I think now it's clear. Emotion: smile ^^

Just for confirmation.
1. He was sitting down all morning.
2. He sat down all morning.
I think #1 is correct but #2 is incorrect.
Am I right?
Maybe I didn't catch all the possible cases, because they both sound fine!
In the original, it was the use of the participle "playing" which conflicted with "sat down". Once you remove the implication that something was done "(while) playing Mozart", the objection to "sat down" goes away.

On the other hand, personally I prefer both of your sentences without the "down". A very natural sentence is "I had to get up and walk; my legs were getting stiff from sitting all morning." (You could add "down" if you wanted to. My preference is to leave it out.)

Sorry if I confused you.
Thank you very much, Jim!

Have a good night!
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Right...i often use this word :"sit"..omit it: [down].