Stood - standing

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The two words stood and standing are two different forms of the verb 'to stand' which can be confused. (See also Stand (irregular verb).)

  • stood is, first, the past tense; and second, the -ed ('past') participle. The former, the past tense, is the form to use when you say what you did yesterday - "I stood by the wall during the riot", "She often stood at the widow, looking at the garden." The latter, the past participle, is the form to use with the auxiliary verb 'to have': "Have you ever stood at the Globe Theatre?"
  • standing is the -ing ('present') participle. What this means, in less technical language, is that you should use this form with the auxiliary verb 'to be' - "I am standing here"; "She was standing at the front, by the stage." You can also use it as a participial adjective to describe your position: "Standing quietly by the tree, he saw many birds", or "She watched the boat race standing on the bank."
This is a grammatical nicety that can cause difficulty to native students more than to non-native speakers. This is particularly true as the grammar of informal English has different rules from those of formal English. The problems come because the local (colloquial) grammar allows "I was stood" - “ the use of the apparently -ed participle with the auxiliary verb 'to be'. (In its most extreme form, this can be "I was stood standing".) Never be tempted to say this in academic writing.

See also sat - sitting, and a comment on the matter by Oliver Kamm at Kamm.

Standing is also used as a noun, meaning status within a hierarchy - "He was a man of great standing in the community."