In conversation, I jokingly said:

Она якобы слышала внутренний голос, который шепчет ей снова и снова. Я дал ей адрес хорошего врача! Да уж, время, что она провела в одиночестве, ее не пощадило...

The expression "X takes/took its toll on Y" comes in handy to refer to an accumulating negative impact of some continuous activity or process on something that used to be in great condition.

Here I wanted to euphemistically express the idea of "months of loneliness having made her lose her mind". I used "не пощадило" as a sort of litotes.

I can't seem to find "не пощадило" among more than 10 different phrases offered by native Russian speakers as equivalents of "X took its toll on Y", so I'm not sure if my phrasing got my meaning across. What are commonly used phrasings for this in Russian?

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    I think they use время не щадит to mean mostly "external" conditions (like in "she looks older/uglier now"). Barely "internal" conditions (her mind in this case). I would not probably find this sentence to be too awkward in a colloquial conversation, but I would be a bit confused to find it in a written form. Jan 10, 2019 at 2:11

3 Answers 3


Your version sounds good enough. Another way of putting it is what rg_software suggested with an added pronoun which i think makes it more idiomatic and underscores that the impact was personal and not general

не прошло для неё беccледно

and its variant

не прошло для неё без последствий

This one is a bit milder and vaguer

не пошло ей на пользу


To me, your phrase is perfectly fine. When I repeat it over and over, I feel some additional overtones like implications of somewhat harsh outcomes. Perhaps, hearing voices in one's head does qualify. In lighter situations I'd use "время[, что она провела в одиночестве,] не прошло бесследно".


I would say, ''Одиночество её подточило.'' This translation is short, idiomatic, properly emotional, and very Russian - it is perfect. Here, ''подточило'' figuratively means that the foundations of her mental strength have been undermined as a result of a slow continuous process.

Another excellent variant has already been given, ''Oдиночество не прошло для нее бесследно.'' Just note that here neither the negativeness of the effect nor its significance is said explicitly, so the reader is supposed to deduce it from the context. This translation is somewhat soft and basically only says there has been an effect. Or, to be exact, negates the notion that there has been no effect.

Your variant is good, too, but there is one slightly illogical thing: The expression ''не пощадило'' implies that this was the normal, usual course of events (i.e., that the loneliness usually negatively affects the person), while ''да уж'' ехpresses some surprise or appreciation of something unusual. I would re-word your variant as follows, ''Да уж, как сильно одиночество ее не пощадило.''

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