Session 4

Vocabulary: 9 uses of 'stand'

Lizzie's back with BBC Learning English's version of the classic story of Robin Hood - and nine different uses of the word 'stand'.

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Session 4 score

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2

Activity 2

Will Robin lose Maid Marian?

Will Robin get the girl?
How do you think the story will end?

A) Robin loses Maid Marian and dies alone
B) Robin and Maid Marian get married, but spend the rest of their lives in hiding
C) Something else 

To do

Watch the video and find out which option is correct. And listen out for four more uses of stand.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello again. I'm Lizzie. It's time to continue our story of Robin Hood. Robin's hiding in the forest, hoping he'll get to see the girl he wants to marry – Maid Marian. But there's bad news.

The Sheriff, knowing it will annoy Robin, tells Marian's father that he wants to marry her. Her father suggests to her that it's a good idea but Marian won't stand for it and runs off into the forest to find Robin. An old, slightly balding and fat man called Friar Tuck goes with her – he marries Marian and Robin – and then he joins Robin's band of outlaws.

The Sheriff isn't happy about this and comes up with another sneaky way of trying to catch Robin. Knowing that Robin likes to stand out as the best archer in the land, he holds a contest, that Robin can't resist. As expected, he attends and wins the contest, only to escape and runs back into the forest much to the Sheriff's annoyance.

Then, sometime later, King Richard the Lionheart visits Sherwood Forest in search of the legendary Robin Hood. He meets him and his group of men and realises their true intentions of doing good by helping the poor. He stands by them and arranges for Robin's land to be returned to him and the men to be forgiven for any crimes they had been accused of.

But much later, after King Richard has died, Robin is caught and is injured. He dies but just before he does he shoots an arrow. The arrow lands in the forest and it's at this spot where Robin is buried – and a tree – The Major Oak - which Robin Hood and his merry men used to shelter under, still stands in this spot today.

Well, that's my story for today. I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you again soon.

To do

So, the correct answer is C) Something else. Robin does marry Maid Marian, but they don't have to stay in hiding - King Richard the Lionheart realises Robin's good intentions and arranges for him to be forgiven.

Now lets practise the different uses of stand. Have a go at this quiz.

What's the use of 'stand'?

6 Questions

Choose the best expression with stand to fill each gap.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you

We asked you to tell us a story using as many of the phrases with stand as possible:

  • stand up for
  • can't stand
  • not stand a chance
  • stand for
  • stands to lose
  • won't stand for
  • stand out
  • stands by
  • stand

Your Stories:

Antonino, Italy

I have a dog who can’t stand cats. That’s normal, you say. But the peculiar thing is that It’s the only dog I know who doesn’t stand a chance in case of fight with a cat. But there is one thing in which he stands out: he is the most indolent dog I know, even more then cats. But last year I was standing to lose him. He was accidentally hit by a car. The driver tried to deny his responsibility, but fortunately there was a witness who stood by me and my dog. He is fine now, and when It’s time to go out for a walk He always stands close the door wagging his tail. I love my dog, and all animals in general. I always stand up for their rights.

BBC Learning English says:
Great story, Antonino! We love animals too :-) Stand to in this sentence "But last year I was standing to lose him" isn't quite right: should be in the past simple tense, not the past continous, like this: But last year I stood to lose him.

Thanks for your story!


Teresa Linde Valenzuela

Mahogani was the most beautiful young woman in the village, and the most handy too. She stood by her family when they lost their harvest, and she was working very hard in the new business of clothes, sewing and ironing, instead of going to the school. That’s was the reason why she stood up for her younger sister, Sheera, when she preferred studying to working in the small family bussines. But her parents couldn’t stand about that, because they thought that wasn’t the way to do a good marriage. Sheera wanted to be a doctor, and she knew that she didn’t stand a chance unless she wouldn’t obtain the best marks of her promotion at the school, because her family couldn’t afford to pay the fees of the university nor the subsistence expenses in Nsukka, the city where the universitiy was, which was located about three hundred kilometres to her home. Both sisters had looked for information about scholarships, and there was a NGO which offered a grant to college education for the best academic record in the area. This stood for equality and development in rural areas through the promotion of high education for women in the countryside regions of Nigeria.

Mahogani knew that if Sheera went at university, she would stand to lose possibilities because all the housework and other task would be for herself. But she wouldn’t stand for her sister had the same future of her: working for their parents and stop it to work for her husband. She didn’t stand out for her generosity but really she was doing a great sacrifice for her sister, and finally Sheera obtained the scholarship and went at university to study medicine.

Today Sheera is the village paediatrician in her town, she works in the ‘Medical Center Mahogani’, when her older sister receives the patients and gives the doctor’s appointments. Good actions have spirit which stands and comes back to the people who did them.



Once upon a time there was a young who stood up for his belief to defend the forest in his village.

Everyday he could wake up and go round the forest in search for any sign of the forest destroyer. And whenever he find one he could report them to their region authority no matter their excuses they offered him, he couldn't stand their forest destruction behaviour. Because that one day there was an offer of recruiting forest rangers in the village and he stand out best his village.

But as the days goes by their villages become hungry because of his stands. And one day they called a meeting which it was to abolish his name in the village's register names which he couldn't stand a chance to marry in his village and also he stand to lose his land in the same village. But he still stood for his stand on protecting forest. And the villagers wouldn't stand for his new job which they deemed as their cultural barrier. 

Until finally his parents stands by [BBC Learning English says: stood by] him and they garanteen his land right and it still stands there.



My daughter Emily found out that there were three Maths tests in this semester. She could’t stand it. She says that school should be a learning-is-fun environment, but not a test-plus-test surrounding. She won’t stand for this kind of teaching strategy, standing out for debating.

She stands up for students’ right and her classmates stand by her. Together, they stand for learning-is-fun for students. She wrote a letter to her school principle, expressing her concerns. She mentioned that students stand to lose their interesting in learning because of extreme stress and repeating tests in such short period. Last week, they need stay very late till middle of night to do math assignment, but lots of them doesn’t [BBC Learning English says: don't] stand a chance to finish. She asked me to stand up for her. What should I do? Stand for or not stand for is a question.


Alain, France

Here is my story:

I introduce you my to children : Eleana my daughter, 8 years and Billl my son ; 12 years. One day, the two childrens decided to make a contest : to climb as speedy as possible on the montain next for my house. The winner will able to eat a very big icecream. The way up was easy but it was a steep slope. Obviously, Eleana didn't stand a chance to win the race but she didn't want stand for. I gave the starting signal. Bill ran very fast immediatly. The very steep slope surprised Eleana which wasn't abble to run as quickly as her brother and stood to lose the race. Eleana could not stand this way and was crying. But a old man was riding towards the summit on his horse and stood up for the small girl. He put Eleana on his horse. The horse jupped towards the summit and after a few minutes, it overtooked Bill who was already very tired . The old man stood for beeing kind with the young people so he stood by Bill and also put him on his horse. On the summit Eleana, Bill and the old man ate a big ice cream.

BBC Learning English says:
Awwww... We love a happy ending :-) A piece of advice for you Alain: won't stand for - meaning 'refuse to accept or allow a situation' needs an object. So your phrase 'she didn't want stand for' would read better as 'she didn't want to stand for it'.

Thanks for your story!



I can not stand for any futher such misbehave as the country is falling down in its on misery, I wish I could stand for politicians nonethelss it's cleary impossibel to stand by them once they are involved in scams along with plots.

I hope one day many of us might be able to stand out new politicians and the whole country shall take advantage of it.


Huey, Malaysia

I've started learning Japanese language two years ago. The reason I wanted to learn this language was because of a Japanese anime. I'm a slow learner so it took me ages to pick up the language. Sometimes people laughed at me because of silly mistakes I made. I couldn't stand them. I was always hoping that I could go to Japan. There were a lot of summer programmes to study in Japan. Unfortunately, the cost was too high and I couldn't afford any of them.

When the result of level 3 of Japanese Language was announced, I couldn't believe that I got the highest score. I knew I would never stand a chance of getting the highest score. Anyway, I was on cloud nine. And what happened next was something I would never ever expected.

One morning when I was getting ready for school, I received a call from my Japanese language teacher. She told me that I was chosen to participate a programme in Japan and it was sponsored. It was the greatest news in my life! I told my friends about that. They all were happy for me.

However, some students in Japanese class weren't happy about that. They said my Japanese didn't stand out and I shouldn't go. A guy said his Japanese was better than mine and he wouldn't stand for it. So he asked my teacher to let him participate the programme instead of me. But my teacher didn't let him go.

That was what happened before I went to Japan. Anyway, I still had a great time in Japan. After one month, I came back to my country. Part of my heart remain stands there.

That's my story. BBC, thank you so much.


Anastasia, Russia

‘We will stand tall, And face it all together. At Skyfall.’  I can`t stand her singing! No, I don`t mean Adele, she is great, but my school friend who turned up out of the blue last week. It`s half past six, Saturday morning, my day-off. Yesterday I was out for the count and I still desperately want to sleep. So desperately as she wants to sing. Even as a schoolgirl she stood out from the rest. She is tone deaf, has a loud shrill voice and she can't carry a tune to save her life. And she has always had an enormous passion for singing, I suppose, ever since she was a baby. She sang everywhere our objections notwithstanding.  Although I usually stood up for her at school, I must admit that she stands to lose my friendship. Meanwhile I stand to gain a terrible headache. Only her parents always stand by her. They are really hospitable people, once they invited me to visit them in their summer house. I guess, the invitation still stands. I stand for law against morning singing at weekends. I won`t stand for these awful  noises any more. I should get up and make a breakfast. Nobody can`t sing while eating.


Taras, Ukraine

All the people face the same problem as finding work or employment. You need to remember to follow some rules to find a good job otherwise you might not stand a chance. First of all you have to get your relatives stand up for you. It might calm you down and make you feel confident.

It is important to make the right CV.  Avoid its ready-made writing. You have to stand out among others. Be detailed to write their experiences which are interesting for particular employer. No need to highlight other aspects of your experience.

Focus on the job market and expertly assess their knowledge and skills to work. And finally excessive self-confidence can also be your enemy. So won't stand for it to master you.

Good luck in your job search!



That's the end of Session 4. In session 5, Tim from the Learning English team is back with the latest episode of our new pronunciation series. Don't miss it!

Session Vocabulary

  • stand up for (B2)
    give support to; defend

    can't stand (B1)
    strongly dislike

    don't stand a chance (C2)
    have little possibility of success

    stand for (C2)
    represents an idea or priniciple

    stands to lose (C2)
    be in a situation where you may lose an advantage

    won't stand for (C1)
    refuse to accept or allow a situation

    stand out (B2)
    be noticeably better than other people

    stands by (B2)
    supports someone in a  difficult situation

    stands (C1)
    remains; exists in a place