I was looking at the questions list and realized one hot question on the right-sidebar's list that I had never seen before, it was talking about the phrasal verb 'Scoot over' which means

To move in order to give some space so that someone else can sit

However, how is this verb used? Is there a past form? Can I specify an exact side where I want the person to go? Like: "Scoot over a little bit to the left so I can sit"

Also, as I looked up this phrasal verb's meaning in internet, I saw this definition:

Move to the side, especially to make room. For example, If you scoot over a little I'll have room to sit.

I can understand that "room" is working as "space", is it working exactly as "space"?

I also found this definition:

To move or slide something to the side: Scoot your chair over so we can talk

What does "scoot the chair over" mean? Does it mean the same as above but instead of moving a body, moving the chair in order to give space?

Is there a past form of Scoot? Like: He scooted over so I could sit.

  • All of your conjectures are accurate. Scoot is a regular verb, so the past and past participle are both scooted and the present participle is scooting. Jan 4, 2017 at 18:24
  • Actually, I think you understand it pretty well already - pretty much all of your examples are excellent!
    – stangdon
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:24
  • I wouldn't really say that to scoot [over] specifically means to budge up (make room for a newcomer, e.g. by sliding along a bench to open up another seating position). In BrE you can just as easily scoot over to your mate's house (it simply means to move [somewhere] quickly). I've never heard it used transitively (i.e. - Scoot that chair over here! doesn't work for me). Jan 4, 2017 at 18:32
  • @FumbleFingers there you are: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/scoot+over The same source you sent me earlier today, which I wasn't sure whether I should trust it or not, but.. Scroll down the page, the exemple is in the middle of the page.
    – Davyd
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:38
  • 2
    You might be interested to know that (in American English) the phrase is sometimes scooch over (sometimes spelled scootch). This is probably even a little less formal than scoot over but is otherwise used exactly the same way. (However, in wider usage scooch has slightly different connotations than scoot, as it very specifically implies a kind of inching movement. You can also scooch in different directions, e.g. scooch down or scooch back; or contexts, e.g. scooch past/around an obstacle; and things can be scooched, e.g. scooch your chair up to the table.)
    – 1006a
    Jan 4, 2017 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


All of your presumptions are pretty much spot on.

Scoot over does indeed mean to move in order to make room for another person, and yes there is no reason why you can't apply a direction to the instruction

Could you scoot over a little?

Could you scoot over to the left/right a little?

...though in real world usage, it's somewhat implicit that by asking someone to scoot over, you are asking them to move in the opposite direction to where you are positioned - i.e. there isn't enough room as it stands, therefore they have to move away from you in order to make room. You can also ask a person to scoot their chair over, for example in a meeting, in order to make room for you to position your chair.

In the context of 'If you scoot over a little I'll have room to sit', yes, room is synonymous with 'space' in this context - you are effectively asking the person to make enough space for you to sit down too.

And finally, 'scoot' is a regular verb, therefore it does take the past tense form 'scooted', as you correctly guessed.

He scooted over so I could sit down.

  • All nouns used with "Scoot" will imply to say something moving in order to make room? For instance - Let's say I've bought new shoes and I usually keep my shoes together with my brother's on a shelf, but my brother's shoes are taking all space and I want to place mine between his, so could I say: Scoot your shoes over so I can insert mine! ?
    – Davyd
    Jan 4, 2017 at 19:02
  • Regarding application of a direction, one usage of that would be if you are sitting behind someone (at a concert, at a play, at a lecture) and they are directly between you and the action. In that case, you could say, "Could you scoot over a little to the left/right so I can see?" I would probably also add some polite fluff like "Excuse me" and "please" and "thanks" in the appropriate places.
    – shoover
    Jan 4, 2017 at 20:22

Hey could you scoot over a bit so I can sit down?

Scoot over so I can get in the car.

Please scoot over? I can't see the TV through your head.

It's a colloquial expression so definitely use in familiar company, although it's polite enough that you can use with strangers.

Just not in a formal situation. In that case it's better to say "Could you move over, please?" or simply state your request:

Pardon me, but might I sit here? Thanks.

Of course, if you're with good friends you can get less polite:

Hey, could you move your ass? Thanks.

  • Wow, how polite you were ni the last example, lol! Thank you Andrew. Anyway, can I increase the direction that I want them to go when using "move" instead of "scoot over"? - Can you move a little bit to the left so I can see? or Can you move you head a little bit to the left?
    – Davyd
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:56
  • Yes, although you can also say "scoot to the left" or "scoot up/forward". And I figured you'd appreciate knowing how to be "less" polite, although truthfully you can say "move your ass" with friends or family, it's not (necessarily) insulting. Well, at least in the US. My wife and I talk like that to each other all the time.
    – Andrew
    Jan 4, 2017 at 19:28
  • Oh, I didn't find that as an insult, not at all! I live in Brazil, buddy. That's how we talk to each other in Brazil: "Hey asshead, Hi son of a b***.." Well, I don't talk this way, but at least 60% of all Brazilians speak that way. I found your comment funny, though!
    – Davyd
    Jan 4, 2017 at 19:42

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