Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever seen somebody get a standing ovation?

Have you ever received a round of applause for something positive that you did?

You may have noticed that talking about applause and clapping is a big thing in English.

We’re going to look at this today, why clapping is so important, and how to talk about applause which is a very common and positive part of the culture.

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Why Applause Matters

Have you ever wondered why people started to clap as a way to praise someone?

There are so many different times and instances when you may see people clapping.

You may see clapping in an expected circumstance, such as if you are at a show.

You may also see people clap in more unusual circumstances such as when a plane lands or if somebody drops something at a restaurant.

Clapping is so ingrained in our culture, and it’s amazing how often it happens without you even realizing it!

It’s a big deal when a baby learns how to clap their hands, and so this is something that we learn from a very young age as a positive thing.

Clapping is a big deal, and so is talking about it often because it has so many positive emotions associated with it.

This is an activity that is usually associated with something joyful or positive, and therefore it’s an activity that people want to talk about.

You might not realize just how many idioms there are that deal with applause, and that’s our focus for you today.

Phrases About Applause

Some of this vocabulary is very obvious, and it talks about applause in a direct way.

Some of these phrases may not be what you think at all, but this shows you that it’s a very common subject.

This is something that people like talking about, so you will find these useful to start up or be part of a conversation.

Here are the idioms and vocabulary words to learn that have to do with applause, and you will find them very helpful in making connections.

  • Round of applause: This is when people clap for something to show appreciation. It’s a group effort and therefore an audience for example may all clap when something good happens, particularly with a presentation. You might say “When she finished her presentation, the audience gave her a round of applause.”
  • I applaud you/I applaud your…: This is saying that I commend you or I give you credit. You did something noteworthy and I want to give you credit for your efforts. You might say “I applaud you for all the hard work you put into this project.” You could also say “I applaud you for trying, even though we didn’t win.” You might hear “I applaud your ability to show up on time, even though the train is always late.”
  • Standing ovation: This is when the audience stands up and cheers at the end of something. It shows they REALLY like it. Sometimes this happens when the main actor comes out at the end of some type of performance. This is to pay tribute to the performance or the wonderful thing that the audience as a whole wants to recognize. You might hear “The audience gave the star a standing ovation during the curtain call.” You could say “I can’t believe I didn’t get a standing ovation after my solo.”
  • Cheer someone on: This is to encourage someone, and it could actually be cheering in a direct and tangible way. It may also mean that you are offering them support in some other way as well. Your presence and support means something to this person as they are doing something where they need it. You could tell somebody “I’ll always be here to cheer you on if you need me!” You might hear somebody say something like “Want to come with me to cheer on my cousin while he runs the marathon?”
  • Slow clap/golf clap: This is something that is done and perhaps isn’t as talked about in conversation. This one is a bit different, though the phrases are ultimately the same. This is sort of a cheeky clap and it shows a certain sense of sarcasm. It’s as if you are clapping at a golf game but it’s really a more sarcastic sort of thing to do in other circumstances. You could say something like “The audience was slow clapping for the comedian. He wasn’t very good.” You might actually hear “Wow, can you at least give me a golf clap for trying?”

All of these phrases are very useful in the right circumstances.

They are all related to applause and clapping in general, and so they are great to practice as they may come up often.

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay Lindsay and Michelle are talking about a show they are watching during intermission.

Lindsay: “This show is incredible. My hands are still hurting from that huge round of applause at the end of this act.”

Michelle: “Mine too! I love it. I will definitely give the two lead actors a standing ovation at the end.”

Lindsay: “Oh yes. Michelle, I applaud you for recommending we see this show.”

Michelle: “Aw, thanks Lindsay! I’m glad you like it. Thanks for always cheering me on when I suggest a new show.”

Lindsay: “For sure. You have good taste. No golf claps for you!”


Applause is so significant in our culture, and therefore it’s a great topic of conversation.

Think about things such as is it easy for somebody to get a standing ovation?

When is the last time that you got a round of applause?

How else do you show your appreciation in your culture in these situations?

Applause and clapping for somebody or something is common, and it’s also something that you can expect to talk about—so be ready with these new phrases.

Let us know as this is a great thing to talk about, and in the meantime you have some great vocabulary to use in your conversations.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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