I found this sentence somewhere.

В комнате стояло две кровати.

But I don’t understand why this sentence uses стояло (neutral form), not стояли (plural because of две) or стояла (female because of кровать).

Why does this sentence use стояло or is this just a typo?

  • 4
    Another SE, Русский язык, has an answer to your question, exactly about 2 beds: rus.stackexchange.com/questions/452006/… To sum it up, since numerals have no grammatical number (sg./pl.), so when it comes to agreement of the predicate verbs with the subject containing a numeral 2 or more, the number of the predicate is up to you, both sg. and pl. are correct. If you choose sg., the past-tense verb is in the neuter gender.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 17:25
  • PS. Стояли is also correct.
    – Abakan
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 19:36
  • @YellowSky Thanks, and thus стояла is not correct, right? Could you write it as an answer?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 15:42
  • because "две кровати" here viewed as some unnamed set. And it even has a neuter gender precisely for this reason that it is in no way definite. This isn't obligingly, you can also consider "2 кровати" as a usual plural - стояли. Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


The rus.stackexchange link in Yellow Sky's comment links to http://new.gramota.ru/spravka/letters/64-bolshinstvo.

That article discusses various situations. For numbers it states that the choice between singular and plural is arbitrary. If singular is chosen, the past tense is neuter. ("Форма сказуемого единственного или множественного числа выбирается говорящим произвольно. При постановке сказуемого в ед. ч. прошедшего времени сказуемое принимает форму среднего рода.")

However, it goes on to discuss nuances that might affect the choice of singular vs. plural. For instance the plural would be favored if the action is performed separately and individually. One example given is: Сто аспирантов пишут диссертации (т. е. каждый пишет собственную работу).

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