A few days back I posted a question [I am making a sentence presenting the image in picture. I want to say that one shouldn't sit the way that the knees are wide open. Does this construction suits best? Note the bottom of the man should be resting on the floor, it's not in the image though.] Actually I couldn't find the exact image that time. That image didn't present the exact position of knees, thighs and bottom. I am posting another image that actually I wanted to ask about.

Can I say:

Don't sit with your legs pointed up.


Don't sit with your knees pointed up.


What would be the best sentence for this?

What I want the sitter to do is that they sit in a way that their bottom and thighs don't come into view. It is about the exercise in which there is a particular step in which one has to sit in a way that knees are pointed up but not so wide that bottom and thighs are seen.

sketches of people sitting with their knees close to their chest

  • 1
    Clarifications should be edited into your question, not left as a comment. The context is very important and you should include as much detail as possible about how you want to use the phrase. There may be a big difference in the words we would chose when writing instructions and telling a friend not to sit that way, so you will get better answers by including more detail. If a comment is rude, please flag it instead of responding to it. Also, use the word-request or phrase-request tag when you're asking for the right word or phrase to express something, not the grammar tag.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 11:13

4 Answers 4


Sitting so that the backs of the thighs are visible would be "sitting with your knees to your chest". Some exercises require you to lift, bring, or pull "your knee to your chest".

If you want someone to sit with their knees bent, but not against their chest, you could say "sit with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle".

In general with exercise instructions, it's helpful to use angles or relationships like "parallel" or "perpendicular" relative to the floor or other parts of the body to explain the correct position. Usually it's better to tell someone how to do it correctly than to tell them not to do it incorrectly. You might say "be careful not to bring your knees too close to your chest" if you're concerned that they might injure themselves by doing it incorrectly.


In short, you don't.

It might be appropriate for a mother to say to her daughter

Don't sit like that, dear, everyone can see your underwear.

But you would need to be as close as mother and daughter for this to be an appropriate thing to say.

If this is an exercise routine, you can demonstrate. However if you need to support this by words, the language that you have already is sufficient:

In this step you sit in a way that the knees are pointed up, but not so wide that your thighs or bottom are exposed.

If you are writing generally, then focus on the actual problem and phrase as a statement, not as a command.

People should be careful about accidentally exposing their underwear when sitting.

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    There's nothing in the question that indicates the author believes the position is indecent. The author has clarified this is for exercise instructions.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 11:15

When you use the word “wide” that makes me think you’re talking about how open one’s knees and legs should be. If you don’t want them open at all, maybe say:

Sit on the floor with your legs together and knees bent.

where “together” tells you not to have any space between your legs.

If this is not what you mean by wide and you are talking about how high your knees should be, then see ColleenV and SamBC’s answers.

“Dont sit with your legs pointed up” is not a good way to describe the instructions as I understand them. Legs pointed up makes me think the feet are pointed up, in the air. So telling someone not to do this will just suggest to them that they should keep their feet on the ground.


If the idea is that their knees are only slightly off the ground, I would say:

Sit on the ground with your legs out, heels on the ground, and your knees together and slightly raised. You should not be able to put the soles of your feet flat on the ground; if you can, your knees are too high.

That avoids you talking about thighs and bums, which will make you seem a little weird, but I'm pretty sure it gives the same effect.

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