Quick answer
"De rodillas" is a phrase which is often translated as "kneeling", and "de pie" is an adverb which is often translated as "standing". Learn more about the difference between "de rodillas" and "de pie" below.
de rodillas
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (general)
a. kneeling
Todo el mundo estaba de rodillas cuando entré en la iglesia.Everyone was kneeling when I came into the church.
b. on one's knees
Marta estaba de rodillas buscando una de sus lentes de contacto.Marta was on her knees looking for one of her contact lenses.
c. on bended knee
Larry se puso de rodillas y le pidió que le diera otra oportunidad.Larry got down on bended knee and asked her for a second chance.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
El prisionero cayó de rodillas implorando perdón.The prisoner fell to his knees imploring forgiveness.
El profesor nos ponía de rodillas como castigo.The teacher would make us kneel down as a punishment.
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de pie(
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (position)
a. standing
Ya no quedaban asientos y tuve que quedarme de pie toda la conferencia.There were no seats left, so I had to remain standing throughout the whole lecture.
b. on your feet
Has estado de pie todo el día; debes de estar cansada.You have been on your feet all day; you must be tired.
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
2. (imperative)
a. stand
El juez ha entrado a la sala. Todos de pie, por favor.The judge has entered the room. All stand, please.
b. stand up
¡De pie, he dicho! ¡No quiero ver a nadie sentado!I said, stand up! I don't want to see anybody sitting!
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