“Have a seat” vs. “please sit down”

There are several places where we might ask someone to sit down, such as when we extend that invitation to a friend in our home, or to a business associate in a conference room.

Of these two (which are heard rather often):

  • Have a seat.
  • Please sit down.

is one of them more appropriate than the other to ask people whom you do not know too well to sit and have a talk? Would one of them be more appropriate than the other in a more formal setting?


In this context, I would say “please have a seat”. You’re inviting the person to sit down, but not formally request that they sit down, merely offering the possibility.

“Please take a seat” is also possible, but slightly less deferential. It tends to be used in contexts where the person really should sit, for example by a doctor talking to a patient.

“Please sit down” and “please be seated” are more directive. For example, an air hostess might tell a passenger on a plane to “please be seated”, because the passenger really must seat while the aircraft is in motion. However, tone is key: it is possible to say “Please, sit down” (or perhaps that should be “Please! Sit down!”), with a pause after “please” and the right intonation, to convey that you are happy to see the person and cordially inviting them to sit down.

Source : Link , Question Author : Persian Cat , Answer Author : Gilles ‘SO- stop being evil’

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