The senators are delegating on an issue and they at interval comment on the subject matter. But before they do, they recognize the senate president in greeting with:

“The senate president in/at the chair, my honorable senate members present...”

before they commence on what they have to say on the subject matter.

The senate president sitting in the chair Or The senate president sitting at the chair

I’d like to know which is correct between the expressions, given the context of congressional proceedings.

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    Similar question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/72831/… – wrymug Jul 26 at 17:55
  • Possibly this is different to the similar question because of "senate president" as subject, and maybe the OP is asking if there is a different treatment in parliamentary procedure or whatever. @wrymug However, without further context we may never know. – Cascabel Jul 26 at 19:01
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    @Cascabel exactly. The senators are delegating on matters and before any senator comments, some refer to the president as “the president sitting on the chair, some say in the chair and some at the chair. I’m just wondering the right one that fits in. The senate president is actually sitting afar off. – user70668 Jul 26 at 19:09
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    This is about technical language and procedures in a particular legislature. That body will have its own rules, conventions and traditions. Nobody outside that world can throw any light on the precise form of words to be used in particular circumstances. – JeremyC Jul 26 at 21:53
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    In US usage, the person in charge of running the proceedings in IN THE CHAIR. All dictionaries consulted confirm. – Xanne Jul 27 at 8:59

We can sit in a chair with arms (such as a presidential throne or a Lay-Z-Boy) and we can sit on a simpler chair like a dining chair. However whichever sort of chair we are using we can sit at a table, bar counter or desk.

Under some cicumstances a person can sit on a table, desk, or bar counter but then they are sitting directly on the surface. The idea that someone could sit at a chair sounds very odd, it would imply that they were sitting on something else like a small stool or the floor.

As JeremyC says in his comment above 'sitting at the chair' may be a technical term in the particular context but it is not part of general English. I do wonder whether the legislature referred to has a history where people sat on cushions (Japanese, Arabic and Indian contexts spring to mind). In this context the idea that the president would sit 'at' a particular position would make sense. The English equivalent is "sitting at the head of the table" which relates to the position of the person relative to the rest rather than the particular chair on which they are sitting.

If this is the case then "sitting at the chair" could indicate that the historical terminology relating to sitting on cushions has been transferred to a more modern context where there is physical chair or throne.

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