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Bob Nailor




Sit vs Set and More

Another collection of words to confuse the writer. First I'll attempt to explain how to properly use "sit" and "set" in sentences. Both are verbs and like "lay" and "lie," they tend to get misused, but not as often.

Set
means to place or put something in a particular location.
Present Tense: set
Past Tense: set
Past Participle: set

Sit
means to rest on the buttocks, be seated
Present Tense: sit
Past Tense: sat
Past Participle: sat

You sit a person in the corner. Why? Because, simply put, they have a butt. You set the flowers on the desk.

"Set" is a transitive verb and takes an object most of the time. You set the table but you can sit at the table. In other words, you place things on the table (set) which are the objects and then you rest on your butt (sit) at the table.

Another set of confusing words: your and you're.

Your
is the possessive case of you.

You're
is the contraction of "you" and "are"

A simple way to keep these two words clear in your mind is to think of the contraction as un-contracted. In other words, the sentence is "You're happy today." Can it be read as "You are happy today?" If so, the "you're" is correct. The sentence is "Your house is white." Can it read as "You are house is white" and be logical? If not, then "your" is the correct choice.

Another set easily confused is: they're and their

They're
is the contraction of "they" and "are"

Their
is the possession case of they

Again, like the above examples. If the word can be un-contracted and make logical sense, then the contracted word is the proper choice.

They're going to the store. Can it be read as: They are going to the store? Then the contracted "they're" is proper. Their car broke down. Can it be read as They are care broke down. If not, then the possessive choice, their, is proper.




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~ COMMENTS ~

Scott Bury
2014-11-17
These three sets of words confuse such a large number of people, and I don't know why. I can still remember learning about contractions in elementary school, and the logic made so much sense then: the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters. That complements your explanation.

And unlike so many rules in English, this one is consistent. The same logic applies to:
- they're and their
- you're and your
- who's and whose.

Let's (let us) keep spreading the word, and maybe we'll (we will) make a difference.
~ Reply to this comment ~

Bob Nailor
2014-11-17
Everything evolves and unfortunately, so is the English language with the new digital world driving it even faster into ruin, as the old school pupils see it. I actually read a "free" book (should have been a hint, eh?) that read like "Shed cried LOL before ROFLHAO to finally curl up in a corner and cry but couldnt" OUCH!! The book was filled with abbreviations and not one apostrophe or other punctuation. There were capitals so I knew, most of the time, where the sentences began/ended. By the way, I think that sentence was "She'd cried, laughed out loud before rolling on the floor laughing her ass off to finally curl up in a corner cry, but couldn't." At least, I think that was what it was suppose to be...
~ Reply to this comment ~

Scott Bury
2014-11-17
These three sets of words confuse such a large number of people, and I don't know why. I can still remember learning about contractions in elementary school, and the logic made so much sense then: the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters. That complements your explanation.

And unlike so many rules in English, this one is consistent. The same logic applies to:
- they're and their
- you're and your
- who's and whose.

Let's (let us) keep spreading the word, and maybe we'll (we will) make a difference.
~ Reply to this comment ~

Elyse Salpeter
2014-11-17
Ok, thankfully NONE of these confused me and I knew them! LOL. Oy, your tips sometimes totally throw me for a loop and I realize what I don't know - thank you!
~ Reply to this comment ~

Bob Nailor
2014-11-17
Glad this week left you sailing fine. I don't mean to toss you a curve. But, just think, it is fun to learn, right?
~ Reply to this comment ~

Tamie Dearen
2014-11-17
Another good tip! Awesome stuff!
~ Reply to this comment ~

Bob Nailor
2014-11-17
Should I make "Awesome" my middle name? Thanks [blushing]
~ Reply to this comment ~

Tamie Dearen
2014-11-17
That's what I call you already... Bob Awesome Nailor. :D
~ Reply to this comment ~

Bob Nailor
2014-11-18
Thanks. {blush}{blush}
~ Reply to this comment ~

onisha Ellis
2014-11-17
So if I said,I was so mad I set him in the corner and told him to stay there, I should use sit since I placed his buttocks in the corner? I am confused. Can you tell?
~ Reply to this comment ~

Bob Nailor
2014-11-17
That's where it gets a little confusing. According to the rules, it seems "set" is the proper answer since I think "him" is the object of the verb... BUT, at the same time, "sit" is used when dealing with humans or animals when placing them on their butts. Somehow I get the feeling there are exceptions to the rule and I haven't found them yet. I, personally, thought "set" to be right, but all my research indicated "sit" to be the proper answer. Go figure.
~ Reply to this comment ~

Lisa Jey Davis
2014-11-18
You had me at "sit".


I just said that because any time someone properly uses a word that is over-mis-used, I tend to applaud them with that saying... "You had me at "you're", or ___fill in the blank___"...

Great post Bob!
~ Reply to this comment ~