Could you please explain what is the difference between this two:

Mr. Sherlock Holmes was seated at the breakfast table.

Mr. Sherlock Holmes seated at the breakfast table.

  • The difference is in transitivity (i.e., whether the verb seat can take a direct object). Check the dictionary to see which way seat is most commonly used.
    – user3395
    Mar 10, 2018 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


The second one doesn't make sense. To seat something or someone means "to place something on a seat or seats, or cause someone to sit down". So if Sherlock Holmes was sitting at the table, then he was seated. That construction is the passive voice (to be + the past participle, which is seated) in the past tense (was seated). We often use the passive voice to describe something as though the participle was an adjective: he was tall, he was tired, he was seated, etc.

If you say "Sherlock Holmes seated..." that means he put someone or something else in a seat. But since the sentence doesn't have an object (what did he put in a seat?) it doesn't make sense.

The verb could also be used reflexively; e.g., "Sherlock Holmes seated himself behind a desk," is a valid sentence because the object (himself) is present.

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