How to say 'give your seat/place to somebody' on transport?


How would you call that if I'm on public transport, sitting comfortably on a chair, and then a senior or a lady in red walks in and so I want to stand up and give my place to that person ?

like, I ... my place/chair (to) that person. I'm not sure, but there should be something like that.

Thanks for your help, guys :)

Arman McHitarian

Posted 2015-04-10T17:43:47.803

Reputation: 764

1You yield (or give up) the seat to a senior (but not to a non-senior woman (they can't have women's lib and seats, unless with an arm load of kids)) . But you probably wouldn't use either word in everyday non-technical conversation. You can also not say anything and just stand up and maybe look at the senior giving them the option. Some seniors don't want to sit down. – None – 2015-04-10T18:58:17.817

1And I have no idea what you mean by "lady in red". – None – 2015-04-10T19:02:37.527

1I just meant some nice lady :) – Arman McHitarian – 2015-04-10T20:59:56.633

1Well, why don't you put 'nice lady'? 'Lady in red' can be a prostitute, who are not always nice. It also has some other slang meanings. – None – 2015-04-11T09:39:19.627

@pazzo, The Woman in Red (or the Woman in the Red Dress) is a famous character from the Matrix movie, meant to appear harmless but to catch trainees' attention in the Agent training program. She is also referenced as "lady in red" sometimes. Thanks for another meaning, would have never thought of "lady in red" as of prostitute. Maybe Lady in Yellow as in Walk of Shame? :) Well, yeah, this is when your knowledge about a language is more built upon movies rather than real experience. – Arman McHitarian – 2015-04-13T12:35:53.347

1@ArmanMcHitaryan I immediately thought of the woman in the red dress form the Matrix, and assumed you meant any random woman, so your meaning did not entirely fall on deaf ears. – DCShannon – 2015-04-14T19:52:59.580



The other answers I see here describe how to tell the person that you would like to let them have your seat, but that doesn't appear to me to be what the question asked.

To answer your question by finishing your example sentence, I would say:

I gave up my seat to an elderly lady.

An alternative form would be:

I let an elderly lady have my seat.

This could imply that she asked for it, and you then let her have it, as opposed to the first phrasing which implies that you did it without prompting.

That being said, one of the comments on this page indicates that a listener may interpret those two phrasings with the reversed meaning, with the second phrasing voluntary and the first forced.

Either way, the two phrasings are essentially identical. Use whichever you prefer.

As far as offering your seat, I normally wouldn't even say anything. I would just stand and move aside when someone who clearly needs the seat more gets on. This is partially because most buses I've been on have signage saying to give up your seats for the elderly or handicapped.

bus sign

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Posted 2015-04-10T17:43:47.803

Reputation: 3 272

Thank you, Shannon, for your detailed answer. This was just what I was asking for. – Arman McHitarian – 2015-04-11T08:00:15.463

You could also say "I gave my seat to the elderly lady." or "I gave her my seat." It's less formal, but often heard (AmE). – Stew C – 2017-04-09T22:55:51.933


You smile and stand and ask, "Would you like to sit down?"

"Chair" doesn't work here. It refers to a single, free-standingpiece of furniture, not to shared seating such as we find on the subway or bus.

Eileen Wilks

Posted 2015-04-10T17:43:47.803

Reputation: 139

Thank you, @Eileen. Can I then say that I "gave up my seat to somebody" today? Would 'give up' be correct? – Arman McHitarian – 2015-04-10T20:56:33.713

1"Give up" implies hardship a bit, and this is something you did willingly. I'd say "I let them have my seat." This implies that you were happy to do it. – StilesCrisis – 2015-04-10T22:03:34.793

These sound more native than "gave up" in this particular sentence: "I gave my seat to somebody" or... "I offered my seat to someone*" (offered but not necessarily gave it). – Stew C – 2017-04-09T23:00:09.060


In your context, I would say:

Would you like my seat?

I wouldn't use chair as that usually refers to a standalone unit for one person only to sit, and wouldn't expect that on mass transit.

Place might be OK, but would be better in a situation like where you are waiting in line to go into a movie:

Would you like my place in line?


Posted 2015-04-10T17:43:47.803

Reputation: 29 679

Thanks for your reply. Can I then say that I "gave up my seat to somebody" today? – Arman McHitarian – 2015-04-10T20:54:18.957

Yes, you can say that. – user3169 – 2015-04-10T21:26:34.633