I can't figure out what the speaker is trying to say in this statement with собрался на встречу:

Я не могу долго говорить! Я собрался на встречу, которая начнётся через пять минут. Могу я тебе перезвонить позже?

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    "I'm going to a meeting"
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 4, 2014 at 23:31
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    "собираться / собраться" does not only mean that a person is planning to do somthing, but implies that some physical or intellectual effort is being made to gradually make these intentions more likely to come true. Here, "packing up" is a good metaphor (if you look up other meanings of "собираться"). By no means the most obvious choice, it allows this past tense use to express that attending a meeting was planned well ahead, and the person is actually quite ready to leave.
    – Shady_arc
    Dec 5, 2014 at 3:10
  • Come to think of it, does not imply, but may imply. This leaves it a bit ambiguous: a person may tell you "Я собираюсь" to strategically disguise the fact that they haven't really decided yet, but, you know, they are more likely to follow this course of action than not. And are too polite to admit that they haven't given it much thought ^_^.
    – Shady_arc
    Dec 5, 2014 at 3:21
  • @CocoPop A couple of your recent question texts look like a poor translation from English, or as if they were written by Russians living in the US.
    – jwalker
    Dec 5, 2014 at 10:33
  • @Shady_arc: We express this same nuance in English by changing the preposition from "to" to "into" and only use this at the last moment if someone attempts to hold us up or needs something right away. Thanks for your wonderful explanations :)
    – CocoPop
    Dec 5, 2014 at 16:21

4 Answers 4


собрался на встречу does sound a bit awkward in this context. I guess the speaker omitted a verb here to signify that they do not have time even to phrase this sentence correctly. The correct form would be:

 Я собрался пойти на встречу
 Я собрался поехать на встречу

Where Я собрался is used as I am ready to ...

 I am ready to go to a meeting
 I am about to go to a meeting
 I am going into a meeting
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    They are both correct, though "пойти" would make it less natural in context (here the sentence should be a valid explanation of why the person is busy, not a recollection of the person's past plans — "пойти" makes it longer and does not add anything) Remember, intention to go somewhere is one of the meanings of the verb by itself (which is not only supported by real life usage but by dictionary examples, too). You may specify that you intend to "go" somewhere, but that's completely up to the speaker.
    – Shady_arc
    Dec 5, 2014 at 3:00
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    Not at all. It's what I might say if someone called me at my workplace at exactly the moment when I stood up ('собрался') in order to go to a meeting room.
    – ach
    Dec 5, 2014 at 11:15
  • Aha! I know exactly what this means now. In this situation, we use "into a meeting" instead of "to a meeting" to express that we're short on time: "I can't talk, I'm going INTO a meeting in 5 minutes." Thanks!
    – CocoPop
    Dec 5, 2014 at 16:18
  • At my job, we don't use the word 'совещание'. Sounds too heavy, Sovietesque. We say 'встреча'. Don't know, however, if that's so in other companies.
    – ach
    Dec 9, 2014 at 11:28

Your guy was trying to say that he's about to leave for a meeting. Собрался на встречу literally means that a person prepared himself to go for a meeting and when used in a conversation means that the person is about to do something. This might not make sense for a non-native speakers at first but it totally does.

Think of it that way: I'd bet you heard an expression Я уже собрался уходить, it means "I'm about to be off". Я собрался [to do something] you say when you are about to start [to do something].

I hope this would clarify your understanding of the situation. Good day, sir!


Yes, "собраться" mean "be prepared for". And, in my opinion, it come from "собрать вещи (сумку)" (not sure in English variant for this, think it's like "put staff in a bag"). For example, one of my favorite idiomatic expression "нищему собраться - только подпоясаться".


It literaly means "I have gotten ready [to go] to a meeting." In English we would say "I'm am ready to go to a meeting." or "I'm all set to go to a meeting."

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