There is a girl seated on the table.

There is a girl sitting on the table.

Which sentences of above are correct? Could you explain how they are used as participle? Also explain the meaning of them in detail?

  • 1
    See Participial Adjectives Oct 24, 2016 at 17:25
  • 1
    If what you mean is the girl has parked her posterior (bum) on the tabletop itself, rather than on a chair beside the table, then seated would be extremely unlikely / non-idiomatic. But assuming the more likely context (she's actually in a chair), there's no problem with either seated at the table or sitting at the table. Oct 24, 2016 at 18:03
  • Your second example is much more likely. "Seated on the table" and "sitting on the table" are non-finite clauses functioning as postmodifier of the noun "girl". The first is a past-participial clause and the second a gerund-participial clause. Such clauses are semantically similar to relative clauses, cf, "There is a girl who is seated/sitting on the table.
    – BillJ
    Oct 24, 2016 at 18:14
  • Thanks billj. It means both sentance are correct as you explained up. Oct 24, 2016 at 18:44

2 Answers 2


Post-positive participial adjectives and participial adjectival phrases are short for "X that is Y".

There is a girl seated on the table = There is a girl that is seated on the table.

There is a girl sitting on the table = There is a girl that is sitting on the table.

Both are correct. Your real issue is with the difference in meaning between to seat and to sit.

To seat means "to find somewhere to sit", and when used progressively with a subject that is a person, it means "to work with someone to find them a seat" unless it's explicitly reflexive.

I am seating. (Sounds incomplete. Listener/reader will be asking "who are you seating.")

I am seating myself. (This works).

The play is now seating. (This means the place where the play is happening is allowing people to enter and find seats.)

To be seated can mean "to have found a place to sit", but another meaning of seat is "to put an object (or person such as a customer, guest, etc.) in a stable or expected place."

Whereas to sit means to recline yourself in a chair or other seat. If you use this word in the past tense, it usually strongly implies you aren't currently sitting down now.

I sat in the chair. (You aren't currently sitting in the chair, but you did so previously.)

I am sitting in the chair. (You are currently sitting in the chair.)

Seated would be appropriate if the "girl" is something like an object (a statue, perhaps) or if you are describing some weird situation where there is a seat on the table and someone has to help her get in it.

As this is unlikely, you probably should use sitting.

  • And what difference between ●There is a girl seating on the table and ●There is a girl seated on the table. Is both are same meaning as it is participle could you explain.i am bit confused about participle how persent participle and past participle can be used. Oct 24, 2016 at 17:48
  • @Meraj hussain: Because this use of seated is "passive", there's a strong implication that someone else (a waiter, usher, etc., but not explicitly specified) caused her to be sitting wherever she ended up. That's probably the main difference in nuance. Oct 24, 2016 at 18:06
  • All of this is correct, the only qualification I'd add is that "to be seated" is somehow wrong or weird if someone "is seated" on a table. Rather it's simply the intransitive version of "to sit", much in the same way as "to be stopped" is related to "to stop". It indicates a condition, and doesn't necessarily imply anything about how she got there. I say this because my first thought on hearing, "She is seated on the table," isn't ,"Who put her there?" but simply, "Is she comfortable?"
    – Andrew
    Oct 24, 2016 at 18:17
  • @FumbleFingers It doesn't imply that to me, but it could be that "to be seated" has a more precise meaning that I'm not familiar with. To my ears, "She is sitting" implies that she sat there, and "to be seated" implies she took a seat there. Po-tay-to; po-tah-to.
    – Andrew
    Oct 24, 2016 at 18:19
  • You are correct, Andrew. It's not a verbal passive, but an adjectival passive. "Seated" has a static meaning here, not a dynamic one, cf. Are we all seated"?
    – BillJ
    Oct 24, 2016 at 18:21

Both sentences are correct.

A participle is a verb that is describing a noun, or is being tied together with a noun to create another noun.

When you take a verb, like "work" and convert it into an adjective, like "working", you create a participle.

Consider the sentence "She is."

"She" is the subject, and "is" is the verb to be. The sentence means that some particular female exists. It might be a person or dog or a cat, or who knows what, but whatever she is, she exists.

Consider the sentence "She is a working woman."

Now we know more about her. She's a woman who works. We call the adjective "working" a "participle" because it is a verb that has been converted into an adjective and is part of a phrase that is describing the subject.

We call the adjective "working" a "present participle", because the word "working" is a present-tense word. It refers to something that is currently happening.

Consider the sentence "She is a worked-over woman."

"Worked-over" is a past participle, because "worked" is the past tense of the verb work. It refers to something that has already happened.

Consider the sentence "She is a blue woman."

The word "blue" is not a participle, because no form of "blue" is a verb. You could say "she works" and you could say "she sings the blues" but you could not correctly say "she blues." Unless you were coining a new verb. "She's such a whiner, always unloading all her troubles. She blues people all the time." But if you have a noticeable accent, someone overhearing the second sentence might think you were either mispronouncing or qolloquially conjugating the verb "blow" which is probably not what you want.

Consider the sentence "There is a girl."

The word "girl" is the subject and the word "is" is the verb. The girl is taking the action of existing.

Consider the sentence "There is a girl seated on the table."

The word "girl" is still the subject and the word "is" is still the verb, but now we know more about her. She has either found or been shown to a seat on top of a table. She might have found herself a seat there or been shown to that seat. She might be in a chair or astride a saddle, she might be sitting cross-legged or her legs might be dangling over the edge. But in any case, she has taken a seat on top of a table.

The phrase "seated on the table" is a participle phrase in which "seated" is the participle; it is a verb that has been converted into an adjective and is being used to describe the girl's current state.

The word "seated" refers to something that has already taken place. You have been seated. "Seated" is a "past participle".

Consider the sentence "There is a girl sitting on the table."

The phrase "sitting on the table" is a participle phrase in which "sitting" is the participle.

The word "sitting" refers to something that is currently taking place. You are currently sitting. "Sitting" is a "present participle".

The noun "seat" is a place to sit. In commonly spoken English, if you're asked to "find a seat," there is an understood implication that you're not only being asked to find a place to sit, but you're also being asked to sit in it.

The verb "seat" refers to the act of finding a seat and either sitting in it or having someone else sit in it. You can "seat yourself" or "seat a guest" or, as mentioned, you can "find a seat" yourself.

If you were "seating on the table" - that would mean that you are currently engaged in the act of escorting people to seats on top of a table.

In that context, "seating" would be a present participle, but it sounds awkward and may not even actually be correct. Unless your accent is so extreme that you're actually saying "sitting" but it's coming out sounding like "seating." In which case your companion might talk about an "after dinner supplies" which would be kind of fun. Hanging out with English language learners is often fun like that.

A learner might ask "What about 'there is a girl sitted on the table'?" In that case, "sitted" would be a past participle, if "sitted" were actually a word; but, of course, it isn't - which is probably why your teachers are mentioning the word "seated": That would be the past participle version of the verb "sit."

  • A context in which "there is a girl seating on the table" might make sense just occurred to me: "Let's go to the one on 79th. The table dances are cheap, and there is a girl seating on the table." Yup yup yup.
    – Shavais
    Oct 24, 2016 at 22:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .