Can we say that someone is doing something on his/her feet if that person is doing it in a standing position. For example, are sentences like the ones below correct?

  • Everybody clapped the performers on their feet.

  • I work on my feet the whole day.

  • I like playing guitar on my feet.

  • The whole class sang the song on their feet.

I am asking this question because all the examples I found of “on one’s feet” are sentences like “Everyone’s on their feet” which say someone is standing. I couldn’t find a usage in which it is used to mean someone is doing something standing.

  • My mother, who worked in a store, often came home saying "I've been on my feet all day!" May 26, 2021 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


The sentences are not 'incorrect', but a native speaker would find some slightly awkward.

Everybody clapped the performers on their feet.
Everybody stood to clap the performers.

I like playing guitar on my feet.
I like playing guitar standing up (or while standing).

The whole class sang the song on their feet.
The whole class stood to sing the song (or sang the song standing [up])

  • To me, "to applaud" fits better than "to clap". I don't remember seeing clap in a transitive sense, except in "clapped him on the cheek", f.e. May 26, 2021 at 9:35
  • Very, very common in British usage "The third impression was of how enthusiastically the waiting staff clapped the singer and the band at the end of each number." Jancis Robinson (very famous) review of restaurant which has a band and singers. "But people lined up outside the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr to clap the singer on his final journey. " - BBC May 26, 2021 at 9:47
  • You could also use rose to their feet for (1) and (4). I personally don't find (2) unidiomatic (as in Michael's own comment above!). May 26, 2021 at 10:06
  • Thanks for the answer. @KateBunting I know we can use, “to be on your feet,” but I am not sure about, “to work on your feet.” May 26, 2021 at 12:05
  • True, "working on your feet" might suggest doing something to your own feet. May 26, 2021 at 12:18

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