Сonsider these 3 sentences that contain стала (feminine past tense form of стать):

1) Она стала к конвейеру. She worked on the assembly line.

2) Я стала в очередь за сосисками. I got in line to buy hot dogs.

3) Я стала на ковёр в спальне. I stood on the carpet in the bedroom.

стать is quite versatile. For example, it appears to replace работать (to work) in sentence 1, and стоять (to stand) in sentence 3.

How can стать mean so many things? When is it appropriate to use стать versus more specific verbs?

  • What is your native language? I bet it has a lot of words with a lot of meanings.
    – Abakan
    Nov 30, 2015 at 22:44
  • 2
    I think there should be встала instead of стала in all three phrases.
    – Eugene
    Dec 1, 2015 at 1:37
  • 1
    @Eugene "Стать" is possible too.
    – Abakan
    Dec 1, 2015 at 8:01
  • @Alex.S My native language is English
    – ycele
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:00
  • 4
    OK, so think e.g. about "to get" which can mean "to receive", "to become", "to understand", "to buy", "to achieve", "to hear" and so on.
    – Abakan
    Dec 1, 2015 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


Actually, there is no contradiction, and стать does not have that many meanings as your English translations of those sentences suggest.

Стать is a perfective verb that generally means 'to stand', and since it is perfective, the connotations are 'to come to a place and remain standing there', so:

1) Она стала к конвейеру means 'She came up to the assembly line and remained working there.' = 'She began working at the assembly line.'

2) Я стала в очередь за сосисками means 'I came up to the line to buy hot dogs and remained standing there.' = 'I stood into the line to buy hot dogs.'

3) Я стала на ковёр в спальне means 'I came into the bedroom, stood onto the carpet there, and remained standing on it.' = 'I stood on the carpet in the bedroom.'

  • стать often used to 'to became'. Я стала актрисой/матерью/красавицей — I became an actress/a mother/a beauty. 'to stand' — встать, стоять.
    – Eugene
    Dec 1, 2015 at 1:54
  • @Eugene - That's another meaning of this verb, the question wasn't about it.
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 12:54
  • @YellowSky How would you interpret Он стал на защиту обиженных? Maybe He stood for the defense of the oppressed?
    – ycele
    Dec 6, 2015 at 20:29
  • 1
    @ycele - Он стал на защиту обиженных is "He stood up to defend the offended the oppressed (and remained their)". So what?
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 6, 2015 at 20:51
  • @YellowSky I came across this sentence in my book, which was translated there as He came to the defense of the upset person. I suspected that I could substitute He came with He stood, but wanted to double check with you. Your interpretation of the 3 sentences in your answer, and now this one, has helped me understand стать better.
    – ycele
    Dec 6, 2015 at 21:57

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