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I had always associated the construct I'm sat here (as opposed to I'm sitting here) with the north of England. I know I've heard it from people with Yorkshire or Manchester accents, for example. Yet, I was recently speaking with a couple of Londoners, one of whom used it and the other stated it sounded natural.

Here are some examples I found in Google Books to clarify the specific usage I am referring to:

Don't think: I'm sat here waiting for my plays to be produced; think: I am sat here waiting to write those plays that can only be produced, now. [source]

I'm sat here in Vittles waiting for a second pot of tea, and life is OK, on the whole. [source]

I'm sat here, in the back of a van with my Thermos full of hot tea, protecting a car-park. [source]

And it'sonly now that I'm sat here to with Emma that the absurdity of what I'm doing is starting hit home. [source]

I'm sat here watching and listening to them talk. [source]

So, how common is this in the UK? Is it actually regional and, if so, of which region, or is it a more widespread expression?

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    ODO has a usage note that says, “Originally only in dialect, it is now common in British (though not US) English”. Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 17:12
  • I don't think "I'm sat here" means "I'm sitting here" - I think it means "I'm to be seated here" or "I will be sittling here". You'd only say it if the chair was empty (perhaps you got up to feed the dog). It reminds me of the recent question on Western Pa. dialect "dog wants fed" and "clothes need washed".
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 3:25
  • @PhilSweet You're confusing two different usages. The usage this question is about is specifically about the more rare - but still common - UK usage, and it definitely does mean "I'm sitting here".
    – Prometheus
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 16:54
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    It's also not rare at all. I move to the UK a few years after posting this question and I can confirm I hear it all the time. Probably more often than I'm sitting here.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:59
  • See also difference between I'm sat and I'm sitting
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 15:44

2 Answers 2

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According to Wikipedia:

In [British English], the word sat is often colloquially used to cover sat, sitting and seated: I've been sat here waiting for half an hour. The bride's family will be sat on the right-hand side of the church. That construction is not often heard outside the UK. In the 1960s, its use would mark a speaker as coming from Northern England, but by the turn of the 21st century, it had spread to the Southern England. Its use often conveys lighthearted informality in which many speakers intentionally use a dialect or colloquial construction they would probably not use in formal written English. The colloquial usage is widely understood by British speakers. Similarly, stood may be used instead of standing. To Americans and still to many Britons, those usages are passive and may imply that the subject had been involuntarily forced to sit or to stand or directed to hold that location.

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    Any sources given? I moved to the UK a few months after asking this and now have significantly more experience with this formulation and its use in London, southern England. As far as I can tell it is both ubiquitous and used entirely seriously, with no implied lightheartedness. It seems to have become standard.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 10:46
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I had a welsh friend in primary school who would say this often. We live in New Zealand, so I don't know many people who speak with other British dialects, I couldn't compare them.

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