AE 642.1 – Expression: Sit Tight

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use SIT TIGHT like a native English speaker.

AE 642.1 - Expression: Sit Tight transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

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To this day, nobody really knows where the remains of famed Bidjigal warrior Pemulwuy are located. He fought a valiant guerrilla campaign against the British, soon after the arrival of the First Fleet. The Education Minister paid tribute to Pemulwuy today, reinforcing the federal government's demands for the return of all indigenous remains from the United Kingdom.

A Bendigo man shakes hands with a white fella, but this spirit of unity wasn't always so. Christopher Pyne joined tributes to Bidjigal warrior Pemulwuy, the Aboriginal man who led a decade long war of resistance against the colony of New South Wales in the late seventeen hundreds.

It's imperative that young be educated into their folkloric heroes in particular, Pemulwuy. Not much is said about the man, and we certainly never got taught about Pemulwuy at La Perouse.

G'day, guys, and welcome to Aussie English. My objective here is to teach you guys the English spoken Down Under. So, whether you want to speak like a fair dinkum Aussie or you just want to understand what the flippin' hell we're on about when we're having a yarn, you've come to the right place. So, sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy Aussie English.

G'day, guys. How's it going? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. The number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanted to learn Australian English and also just wanting to take their English to the next level with this advanced English podcast.So, g'day, guys. How are you going? It is currently Thursday morning whilst I am recording this episode. It's about 9 o'clock, 9h01 in the morning. Noah is getting ready to go to hopefully his swimming lesson, but he needs to have a nap first. And currently I think he's breastfeeding with Kel and refusing to sleep. Naughty little guy. So, I just have to see what happens there. But I might be nipping down to the pool soon to watch him flounder about in the water and learn the ropes of being a good swimmer.

Aside from that, guys, it's been an interesting week. Obviously, if you've been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you'll have seen and well and YouTube as well. You'll have seen that I have started the one month Aussie English competition where I am giving away three prizes guys. That is including my car and 12 months in the Aussie English Academy, which includes the podcasts and all my courses on there. That's number one, prize number one. Number two is 12 months in the academy and number three is a month in the Academy. Now, if you guys want to enter this competition or you need to do is go to and you'll be able to see the instructions there, ok? The instructions are laid out pretty clearly on the website. So, go check that out and enter the competition, guys, I want to see your entries, right?

I can't wait to give away my car. Can't wait to help someone adjusting to life in Australia and who needs transport. So, that was sort of the whole reason for doing that. Anyway, if you want to check out more about why I'm doing it, as well as the process of buying cars, everything like that, check out the episodes on YouTube and obviously the previous podcast episodes where I talk about that as well.

Alright. So, let's get into this episode, guys. The intro clip there was from NITV News on YouTube talking about Pemulwuy. Now, I'm not sure that many people outside of Australia will know who Pemulwuy way is and, in fact, not sure how many people in Australia would. I knew of him because I guess I read quite a bit about Australian history and about when the First Fleet arrived in Australia and colonisation, that period, and Pemulwuy is famous for having been one of the first guerrilla warriors, I guess in Australia because he was fighting the settlers in the sort of guerrilla war raids and fights, I guess you would say, so I'm going to be talking about him in the Aussie English fact and sort of giving you a brief history of Pemulwuy, his life and his interaction with early settlers. But it's definitely an interesting story, ok?So, stick around for that episode.

Let's get into the joke, guys. So, today's expression was using the words 'sit' in it and I thought, hmm, I'll try and find a joke that has the word 'sit' in it or is related to sitting down, ok? So, here's the joke.

What did the man say when his chair was stolen?

What did the man say when his chair was stolen?

I'm not going to take this sitting down.

Bad jokes. Bad jokes. Alright. So, if you take something sitting down, it is that you accept something unpleasant, unfortunate, unjust without resistance, argument or action, right? So, you take that thing, you know, you accept that thing without doing anything. You don't resist that thing. Usually it's used in the negative as in this joke where you will say something like, I'm not going to take this sitting down. So, that means that I'm not just going to let you do this thing, I will resist, I am not going to accept it, right? I'm not going to take this thing sitting down. So, the pun here is, obviously, related to the guy having his chair. The thing that he would sit on are stolen and then the expression to take something sitting down. I'm not going to take this sitting down. He obviously can't take it sitting down because his chair's gone, right? So that's the joke there.

So, today's expression is 'to sit tight'. 'Sit tight'. You might also hear this is 'hold tight', ok? You can sort of hear both of these. And I think it's a sort of only example in English, at least that I could think of, where it's a collocation with the word 'tight' in meaning what it means here in this example, 'sit tight', ok? So, let's go through the words in there, in the expression here.

So, 'sit'. Usually this is to adopt or be in a position where your weight is supported by something, right? Like at the moment, my bum is on the chair supporting my weight. I'm sitting on my chair. So, you might sit on a chair at a table, you might sit on the ground, you know, you might sit down, cross your legs and sit on the ground. You might sit outside on the grass, right? To sit. But in this case, the verb 'to sit', if you say to someone, 'sit tight', it means to be or remain in a particular position or state, right? So, it's effectively just wait in that place. Be here, remain here, right? So, for example, books sit on a shelf. I have a shelf full of books here, and that's where they are. They're resting on the shelf, they're stuck there, they're remaining there, right? Or maybe you've got some glasses that you drink water out of those glasses, sit in a cabinet, right? Or a cupboard. So, that's the verb 'to sit'. In this case, 'sit tight'.

To 'hold', it's the same thing. It's a synonym for 'sit', in this example, right? It's just wait, effectively. So, be here, wait, remain here, hold on, right? Hold on is a good phrasal verbs that you can use there. So, you might hear someone if they answer the phone and they need to do something quickly, they might say to the person on the phone 'just hold on. Hold on a sec. Hold on a min', as in hold on a second, hold on a minute, wait a moment. Hold on a minute.

So, 'tight' here, guys. The last word, 'tight'. Usually this would be fixed, fastened or closed firmly, right? Hard to move, hard to undo, hard to open. So, you might have a really tight knot in your shoe laces, right? If you've tied your shoes up really tightly, you've got a tight knot, or if you twist a lid on to a bottle, it might be on there really tight. But in this case, it's not an adjective, meaning fixed, fastened or closed firmly, it's an adverb meaning very firmly or closely, or tensely. So, if you say to someone, 'sit tight', or 'hold tight', this rare sort of collocation, the expression here, 'sit tight', 'hold tight' just means wait in that place, right? Remain firmly in your place. This shouldn't take long, sit tight or refrain from taking action or changing your mind. So, you might say to someone, you know, 'we're advising our clients to just sit tight, don't buy, don't sell their shares', right? Don't do that thing, just sit tight, just wait, ok? Wait until further notice, wait here.

And it was interesting, I looked up the origin of this expression, there's a bit of a question about where it came from. The 'tight' aspect of this idiom most likely comes from when it was common in the Western world to have a bed frame made of ropes strung equally apart both horizontally and vertically on a frame, sort of like a net or a mesh to support your body, right? One would tighten these ropes before getting into bed to assure that the mattress that you put on the ropes are laid as straight as possible. However, through the evening as you slept, the ropes would gradually loosen, and a good night's sleep would be when your ropes remained really tight all night, so you had a nice firm surface to sleep on. And I think also this is where the expression 'sleep tight' comes from, right? So, some people when you go to bed, they might say to you 'sleep tight', and it just means sleep well. Yeah, so that's interesting. I love when I learn about where these idioms come from because quite often they have some interesting histories.

Alright, so let's go through some examples of how to use the expression 'sit tight' or 'hold tight'. So, example number one, recently in East Gippsland, there have been massive bushfires, as I'm sure you guys are aware. You might have seen the stuff in Mallacoota where everyone was stranded on the beach. So, these bushfires rushed towards Mallacoota in late December 2019. They cut everyone off from escape so that they were unable to drive out of the town and get to safety. So, the skies filled with smoke in the middle of the day, turning the place bright orange from the light that was approaching as the fires flames got closer and closer.

So, 4,000 people had to evacuate and they went down to the beach in an attempt to escape what they described as an apocalypse, as Armageddon. And when they arrived at the beach to relative safety next to the water, they had to sit tight until rescuers came. They had to hold tight on the water's edge there, they had to wait there, they had to remain there, right? And maybe if they had to sleep the night, their parents might have said 'sleep tight'. But yeah, fortunately, the Australian Navy came to the rescue a day later to all those residents on the Mallacoota beach who were sitting tight, who were holding tight, and they saved them just in the nick of time.

Example number two. Imagine that you've got an appointment at the dentist's or the doctor's. So, you were at work, you took a break, you nip down to the dentists and walked up to reception to let them know that you've arrived. You know, it's 1:00 p.m. This is when your appointment is. They check you in and then they say, 'no worries, Pete, the dentist will be with you in a moment. In the meantime, sit tight in our waiting room', right? 'Hold tight in our waiting room'. So, you walk over, you pull up a chair, you kick back, maybe you grab a mag off the table, right, a magazine, you have a flick through while you're waiting as you're sitting tight. And then after a few minutes, the dentist might come out, call your name. And if you're like Kel, you might be nervously shaking like a leaf at the thought of drilling that is to come. So, you're sitting tight, you're holding tight in the waiting room.

Example number three, you've gone down to the beach with your family and it's a hot day. It's a bit of a scorcher, right? A really hot day. And you've come down to the beach like every man and his dog in an attempt to escape the heat. So, you pick a good spot on the beach, you navigate your way through the crowd. It's chock-a-block full of people also trying to escape the summer's heat. And you lay your towels down. If you're like me, you wrap your wallet up, your phone up, your keys up in the towel, and you leave it in a bunch under your bag, right? That's what most people tend to do when they're going to nip off down to the water.

So, as you're doing this, your kids nick off to the water's edge. They want to dive in, catch a few waves, but the problem is that they go off in different directions. So, one might go up the beach, one might go down the beach, but you want them in the same place so that they're easy to keep an eye on, so that you can make sure they don't get into any trouble. You know, like getting caught in a rip, getting dragged out to sea, needing to be rescued, whatever it is. So, you run over to one child and you ask them to go back to the towels where you put your keys and your wallet, your phone and everything, and you say, 'can you just sit tight? Can you just go back there, hold tight, and I'm going to go get the other child', ok? So, you ask them to wait where your stuff is, you ask them to sit tight, you ask them to hold tight. 'Just wait here, mate. Sit tight and I'll be back in a jiffy'.

So, there you go, guys, that is the expression 'to sit tight' or 'to hold tight'. Hopefully now you understand it and we'll be able to use it just like me. Remember, It means to remain firmly in your place to refrain from taking action or changing one's mind, or to wait until further notice, Right? To wait here, wait in this spot, sit tight, hold tight. So, as usual, guys, let's go through a little listen and repeat exercise where you can practice your pronunciation, ok?


Sit tight x 5


Hold tight x 5

Before we do the rest of it, noticed there, guys, that the T or the D at the ends of the word 'sit' or 'hold' can disappear, they can be muted and linked directly to the T at the front of the word 'tight', if I say this really quickly, right? 'Sit tight'. 'Hold tight'. So, practice that. That's something that native speakers do. That is a very advanced aspect of pronunciation in English, ok? When you have those double consonants match up. So, let's keep going.

I asked him to sit tight.

You asked him to sit tight.

He asked him to sit tight.

She asked him to sit tight.

We asked him to sit tight.

They asked him to sit tight.

It asked him to sit tight.

Good job, guys. Now, again, there are some interesting things going on there in terms of connected speech. You will hear pronouns like I, you, he, she, we and they all ending with vowel sounds linking to the word 'asked' with either a Y or a W sound.

I asked him. You asked him. She asked him. He asked him. We asked him. They asked him.

Again, this is sort of advanced connected speech in English, but when we have one vowel followed by another vowel, they will be connected with another sound like a Y sound, a W sound or an R sound, right? On top of this at the end of the word 'asked', you'll hear that the D sound is more like a T sound. Asked. Asked.

And because 'him' starts with an H, the H can be deleted. It can be muted. So, you'll hear instead of 'asked him', you'll hear, 'asked_(h)im'. And the D there has actually been pronounced, now I've just noticed, by me because of the vowel sound after it. 'Asked him', 'asked him'. I asked him to sit tight. You asked him to sit tight.

T sound D sound, you could probably use either, doesn't matter. Do what feels natural, but yeah, just a little bit more to focus on there. The last thing again is focussing on 'sit tight' and how the first T between those two words sit is muted. 'Sit, sit'. It's not released like 'sit, sit'. And it joins to the word 'tight'. 'Sit tight'. 'Sit tight'. That sounds like a very short pause between the two words, 'sit tight', 'sit tight', instead of saying both Ts, 'sit tight', right? 'Sit tight'. You wouldn't do that, you wouldn't do that, you'd say 'sit tight'.

Alright, guys. So, go through that exercise, practice your pronunciation and hopefully this helps you develop a more natural accent and way of pronouncing words and sentences using connected speech in English.

The last thing that I sort of wanted to talk about here before we get into the Aussie Fact episode about Pemulwuy is sitting, babysitting, housesitting, and dog and cat sitting. So, these are some phrases that you'll hear in English from time to time, baby-, house- or dog- or cat-sitting. And here the word 'sitting', it's.. I think, people have taken it from the word 'babysitting', right? Where you take care of a baby. I should have looked this up, if you babysit, you take care of a baby or a young child, right?

So, for example, when I was a kid, when I was probably up until the age of 12 or 13, if my parents wanted to go out, they would get a babysitter to come over to the house and take care of the kids. You know, maybe a young girl or a young boy that they knew, who was a teenager. They pay them, you know, $20 for the night or something like that, where they're taking care of the kids. They're making sure that, you know, me and my sister didn't get into any trouble. They were babysitting. So, 'sitting' here, the word connected to 'baby' is like taking care of.

So, if you ask someone to housesit, what do you think that means? You know, I'm going away on holidays. I need to find a house-sitter. I need to find someone who will housesit, I want them housesitting my house, right? They they should be taking care of my house, making sure that the house is ok whilst I'm away.

And the same thing with dog or cat sitting. If you ask someone to dog or cat sit, you're asking them to take care of your dog or cat whilst you're away. So, my parents frequently do this when they go overseas or away on a holiday. They might say, 'Pete, you know, you don't have the housesit, you don't have to live here, but could you babysit our dog and cat? Could you dog-sit? Could you cat-sit where you come over each day, play with them for a bit, feed them, just make sure they're ok. And yeah, do it again and again and again every day whilst we're away. Could you dog-sit? Could you cat-sit?'.

So, there you go, guys. Hopefully, you learnt a whole bunch of things in this episode about pronunciation and about different expressions and words in English. There are loads of expressions that I've used in this episode. Remember to sign up to the Premium Podcast, guys, if you want to get access to the transcripts and join the academy if you want all of my course material, my advanced English learning materials so that you can level up your English even faster.

Anyway, guys, I'll see you when the Aussie English fact episode with Pemulwuy shortly. And until next week, I hope you have a great one. See ya!

Thanks for listening to the Aussie English Podcast. If you'd like to boost your English whilst also supporting the podcast and allowing me to continue to bring you awesome content, please consider joining the Aussie English Academy at, you'll get unlimited access to the Premium Podcast, as well as all of my advanced English courses. And you'll also be able to join three weekly speaking calls with a real English teacher. Thanks so much, mate, and I'll see you.

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