Russian Vocabulary (and Wisdom)

How to say "to work" in Russian

This Russian word is one of the top 1000 words in Russian. The complete list of most common Russian words is available here.


Meaning: to work, to run, operate, to be open

Pronunciation: [rah-BOH-taht']

Part of speech: verb (imperfective aspect)

Rank: #178 (see frequency list)

 Example sentences:
  • Я рабо́таю в кру́пной компа́нии.
  • I work in a large company.
  • Она́ рабо́тает на дому́.
  • She works from home.
  • Сего́дня мы рабо́таем до обе́да.
  • We are working till lunch today.
  • Писа́тель рабо́тает над но́вой кни́гой.
  • A writer is working on a new book.
  • Этот магази́н сего́дня не рабо́тает.
  • This store is closed today.
  •  literal  This store doesn't work today.
  • Этот магази́н рабо́тает по выходны́м.
  • This store is open on weekends.
  •  literal  This store works on weekends.
  • Библиоте́ка рабо́тает до пяти́ часо́в.
  • The library is open till five o'clock.
  • Мой телефо́н не рабо́тает.
  • My phone doesn't work (is out of order).
  • Мой друг рабо́тал на заво́де.
  • My friend worked at a factory.

 Idioms and set expressions:
  • работать спустя рукава = to scamp one's work
  • работать по найму = to work for hire
  • работать по контракту = to work as a contractor
  • работать круглые сутки = to be open day and night
  • работать над собой = to strive to improve; to develop oneself
  • работать по ночам = to work nights; burn the midnight oil
  • Работать локтями. = To elbow one's way.
  • Работать не покладая рук. = To work up to the collar.
  • усердно работать = to work hard
  • язык хорошо работает = smb. has a quick tongue
      literal  tongue works well
  • работать из-под палки = to work under the lash
 Proverbs and sayings:
  • Кто не работает, тот не ест.
  • He who does not work, neither should he eat.
  • Лодырь сидя спит, лёжа работает.
  • To walk round with one' hands in pockets.
  •  literal  A slacker sleeps sitting, works lying.
  • Молодой работает, старый ум даёт.
  • Age is honorable and youth is noble.
  •  literal  Young one works, old one provides wit.
  • За бездельника язык работает.
  • The tongue of idle persons is never idle.
 Verb conjugation:

Present Tense

I рабо́таю
you (singular) рабо́таешь
he, she, it рабо́тает
we рабо́таем
you (plural) рабо́таете
they рабо́тают

Past Tense

I, you (singular), he рабо́тал
she рабо́тала
it рабо́тало
we, you (plural), they рабо́тали

Future Simple Tense

The imperfective verb работать is not used in the Future Simple Tense. Use the perfective verb поработать instead.

Future Compound Tense

I буду рабо́тать
you (singular) будешь рабо́тать
he, she, it будет рабо́тать
we будем рабо́тать
you (plural) будете рабо́тать
they будут рабо́тать

Imperative Mood (Command Form)

you (singular) рабо́тай
you (plural) рабо́тайте

View full conjugation table for the verb pair работать/поработать

Phrase recordings: Copyright(c) 2011 All rights reserved.
Word recordings: Copyright(c) 2006 Streit Goulnara, Streit Eric, Vion Nicolas. Copyright(c) 2007 S. Sakhno, N. Vion. Distributed under CC-BY.

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