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Someone is sitting on (and I mean "on") a desk. Then... He gets up/stands/rises, says something to his assistant, and leaves.

Are "gets up", "stands", and "rises" interchangeable here?

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  • Rises is rather unlikely;_rise_ in this sense is a formal word, something they say in court: All rise!. And stands up is more likely than stands. Dec 8, 2020 at 19:17
  • "He gets down, says something..." is the most natural
    – gotube
    Dec 20, 2021 at 5:55

1 Answer 1

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Someone is sitting on a desk. Then he gets up, says something to his assistant, and leaves.

This sentence is okay. Any native speaker would fairly understand what you are trying to say. But it would make more sense if you use gets down instead of 'gets up'. Why, because, desk is already at a higher position above the ground. So we usually get down from it, considering we are sitting on a higher position than ground. If he is sitting on the grass, or on the floor, then he might get up from his sitting position.

Someone is sitting on a desk. Then he stands, says something to his assistant, and leaves.

This would be alright, since he stands from whatever position he was previously in.

Someone is sitting on a desk. Then he rises, says something to his assistant, and leaves.

This would again be ambiguous, since we usually rise from a seat or on a place on the ground.

Conclusion: If he was sitting on the floor/ground, you can use either of the three you suggested, interchangeably.

However, as I mentioned in this desk case, you should consider using gets down or stands (up).

But again a word of caution, stands (up) could depict he stood up on the desk itself. Hence use it carefully.

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  • You get up from a chair, but get down from a desk. I'm not sure if the difference is due to whether your head rises or falls, or whether your feet are touching the ground throughout, or something else.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 26, 2023 at 14:16

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