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 '15 at 22:44
  • 2
    I think there should be встала instead of стала in all three phrases.
    – Eugene
    Dec 1 '15 at 1:37
  • 1
    @Eugene "Стать" is possible too.
    – Abakan
    Dec 1 '15 at 8:01
  • @Alex.S My native language is English
    – ycele
    Dec 1 '15 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 '15 at 11:07

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 '15 at 1:54
  • @Eugene - That's another meaning of this verb, the question wasn't about it.
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 1 '15 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 '15 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 '15 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 '15 at 21:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.