Let’s talk about 5 (five) phrases that seem to confuse English speakers learning Spanish:

1. How to say sitting
2. How to say kneeling
3. How to say squatting
4. How to say bending down
5. How to say standing

The Spanish words for kneeling, squatting and bending down seem to be the three that give English speakers the most trouble.

1. How To Say Sitting In Spanish

It is a common MISTAKE for English speakers to say “estoy SENTANDO” as in “Estoy sentando esperando el bus.”

The correct phrase is “estoy SENTADO esperando el bus.” (I am sitting waiting for the bus. (Literally, I am ‘seated’ waiting for the bus.) Native English speakers have a tendency to make this mistake in Spanish because in English we use the progressive tense and say “I am SITTING waiting for the bus,” instead of “I am SEATED waiting for the bus.”

But a literal translation of what a Spanish speaker would say is “I am SEATED waiting for the bus.” (Estoy sentado esperando el bus.)

By the way, I know that many Spanish courses teach that the Spanish word “autobús” means the English word “bus.” But here in Colombia, and many other Spanish speaking countries, the Spanish word for “bus” is “bus.” Of course, you pronounce “bus” as if the vowel “u” is the Spanish vowel “u” and not the English vowel “u.”

2. How To Say Kneeling In Spanish

Avoid the English speaker’s common MISTAKE of using the progressive tense when saying “I am kneeling” by saying “Estoy arrodillando” (INCORRECT). The correct phrase is, “Estoy arrodillado” which literally means, “I am KNEELED.”

How To Say Sitting, Kneeling, Squatting, Bending Down and Standing In Spanish

Se arrodillaron frente a la imagen religiosa. They knelt before the religious image.

3. How To Say Squatting In Spanish

Estoy en cuclillas.
I am squatting.

Usted está en cuclillas.
You are squatting.

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And if you are referring to the weight- lifting exercise, the word for “squats” is “sentadillas.”

¿Cuántas sentadillas debes hacer?
How many squats should you do?

4. How To Say Bending Down In Spanish

agachar – to bend down

Se agachó para recoger las monedas.
He bent down to gather the coins.

5. How To Say Standing In Spanish

There are two words/phrases that are commonly used in order to say “standing:”

a. de pie
b. parado/a

Estoy de pie.
I am standing.

Estoy parado.
I am standing.

By the way, the verb for “to stand up” is “pararse.”

Todos los niños se pararon y dijeron “buenos días maestra”. (All the children stood up and said, “Good morning,

However, if you are talking about “to stand up” as in ‘not to show up for a date,’ the phrase that you must use is “dejar plantado.”

Anoche no salimos al cine porque ella me dejó plantado. (Last night we did not go out to the movies because she stood me up).