Published: 05.07.2021
Russian verbs to sit, to lie, to stand, to hang

Are you sitting or lying while you're reading this article? Well, if you can easily answer this question in English, in Russian it's a little bit… problematic since we have a completely different logic here.
Let's have a look at the copy of Mona Lisa in a nice frame on the wall. It's hanging right now – картина висит.

But what if I take the frame and put it on the table? No, it won't sit on the table, as it does in English, it will stand. Literary. We'll say – картина стоит, if it has a vertical position. But if I put it down, I can say that now the picture is lying – лежит.

To clarify this question, let's add some details, that can make this situation easier.

The easiest verb to start with is висеть (to hang). It's conjugated like all the other verbs (though я-form sounds weird):

So, this part is pretty easy – if something hangs (on the door, well, etc) we say – оно висит.

But what should we do with стоять and лежать? Let's conjugate them first:

When we talk about positions of different objects in Russian, it's a bit tricky, but here are some tendencies:

  • Things usually стоят, when they are vertical (or kinda vertical): ваза стоит на столе or шкаф стоит в спальне.

Sometimes things стоят when we don't expect them to stand, e.g. we can say сковородка стоит на плите. Why? Because its sides are not completely flat, it's kind of going a bit up, a bit "vertical" (please use your imagination here). For the same reason на столе стоит кастрюля, миска и чашка.

  • When they have "legs" like a table or a chair: стол стоит в углу, а сапоги стоят в шкафу
  • Things can also "stay' then they have an 'analogy of legs" – something similar to "base", like тарелка стоит на столе. Тарелка is horizontal but it still stands because it has some kind of base (all the designs are different, but in most cases it still does)

Objects "lie" when they are:

  • Horizontal (or kinda horizontal): платье лежит на кровати, а тетрадь лежит на столе

So, objects in most cases have a fixed position, but here are some cases, like in the beginning of this article about the picture: each object can change its position, so please keep it in mind. So, you'll finish this article and go for a walk after, you'll grab your shoes and… Они стоят? Лежат? Висят? Only you know the answer:)

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