On my feet or on foot?

I must walk three miles a day around the Capitol. I’m constantly on my feet.

Is it okay to say “on foot” instead “on my feet” in the sentence above?

Thank you!!!

However both make sense, it makes more sense in this case to say “feet” because saying “foot” is singular, and since you have two feet, it makes sense to say feet

I saw the definition of “on foot” means walking in a dictionary.
And the example is “Are you going by bicycle or on foot?”

So I thought the phrase is always like that “on foot” (singular form).
It’s kind of confusing.

It’s a subtle difference for sure, because they both mean you’re standing on your feet. Think of “on foot” as a phrase that implies a mode of travel. So using “on foot” means you’re traveling somewhere by walking, instead of riding in a car or train.

Using the phrase “on my feet” means you’re standing up a lot, instead of sitting down. It kind of conveys a sense of being tired, and you would rather sit down or something.

So you could say something like “I crossed the entire city on foot in a single day. I was on my feet a lot that day. Now I just want to rest.”


jf999’s explanation is excellent! It’s indeed a subtle difference. The example they give is perfect too, because switching the two idioms in those sentences would make them both sound significantly worse.

The example in the screenshot is even more subtle. Kevin Spacey’s character seems to be emphasizing that he’s tired from all the walking, rather than that he’s walking instead of, say, scootering. However, one could imagine him in this scene choosing the other idiom (“on foot”), and consequently making the opposite emphasis: his mode of transport, rather than his fatigue.

P.S. These are idioms more than definitions, so do not get hung up on whether feet/foot is plural/singular … unless that helps you remember the idioms!


Thanks for the explanation here. It looks very helpful as usual. :slight_smile:

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I would say that “on my feet” doesn’t necessarily imply being tired. If I said “I was on my feet a lot on Tuesday,” I’ve just communicated that I was standing or walking a lot, presumably as opposed to a normal Tuesday is where I sit more. I wouldn’t automatically assume you were telling me you were tired, except insofar as walking is more physically taxing than sitting. But the main point was that you were more active.


Yes, that’s a good point, and a good correction. I personally use the phrase to convey a sense of tiredness, so that’s the context I was thinking in. But now that I think about it more, you could also use it to express being alert, ready, or healthy.

“On your feet, soldier! The enemy is advancing!”

“I’m back on my feet now that I finally got over the flu.”


When I worked at Starbucks as a barista, I was on my feet all day. Doctors and teachers are also tend to be on their feet all day.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you are walking, just that you are standing.

I see the association with being tired, (mainly because when I was on my feet all day I was tired :P) but on could be on one’s feet and not tired, so it doesn’t necessarily imply that.