So, I like to watch the Easy Languages videos whenever they get uploaded, and a new one came out yesturday. I can understand almost all the video, except the very beginning. This guy is explaining his most crazy thing that he has ever done, and he says this to start, "И самым безумным моим поступком является то, что..." This phrase makes no sense to me because a) Why the instrumental case? b) why use "является"? and c) Why "то, что" instead of just simply "что"? If someone could just explain this to me, that would be great!

  • 1
    то, что is like that which I hope u can understand what it means
    – Anixx
    Aug 16, 2015 at 6:51

4 Answers 4


First of all, this sentence is not an example of "good" Russian language.

  1. The instrumental case is used properly. Here we have a compound nominal predicate ("является моим самым безумным поступком"). In Russian when the noun is a predicative then it becomes the instrumental case, except only the present tense with the verb "to be" (as you know, the latter is usually omitted). Consider "This is a mistake" - "Это ошибка" vs "That was a mistake" - "Это было ошибкой" and "That will be a mistake" - "Это будет ошибкой" (present in nominative, past and future are in instrumental). And if using another copula such as "являться" then both "Это является ошибкой" and "Это являлось ошибкой" must be in the instrumental case.

  2. "Являться" is a kind of "formal style". And I should say, it's a bad style. Just "И самым моим безумным поступком было" would be far more natural.

  3. English "that" is both a pronoun and a conjunction, so it's natural to say: "My craziest thing was that..." Yet in Russian there are two different words: "то" = that (pronoun) and "что" = "that (conjunction)". And quite often we use them both at once: "то, что". Considering this, you may think the sentence's structure as "Моим самым безумным поступком было то, что..." --> "То было моим самым безумным поступком, что..." --> "That was my craziest thing that..." although no one would ever say so.

  • 1
    This answered my question perfectly! Thank you so much!!!!
    – kingkola36
    Aug 16, 2015 at 12:47
  • 1
    'Поступком' is not a predicate, it is the predicative, the nominal part of the compound nominal predicate, "составное именное сказуемое", don't forget there's also a verb, 'является', which is the copula, the full predicate is 'является самым моим безумным поступком' .
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 16, 2015 at 19:51
  • @YellowSky Ok, fixed that.
    – Matt
    Aug 17, 2015 at 6:07
  • @YellowSky Such use of the term "predicative" is also... non-uncontroversial, at best.
    – Viridianus
    Apr 8, 2017 at 0:59
  • Should I have written "compliment"? I prefer to stick to the good auld tradition and call the nominal part of the compound nominal predicate "a predicative." What's wrong about that? Besides, the OP understood everything perfectly, thanked me and accepted the answer. Maybe it's on your side that misunderstanding has built its nest? ;)
    – Yellow Sky
    Apr 8, 2017 at 1:15

a) Because является. If this is your first encounter with instrumental being used to describe thing A being thing B, take my word for it that it won't be your last.

b) Является is basically "is". But yes, it's a little surprising in such an informal context.

c) It gets worse, I would've used то, как. Just что would definitely be wrong here, because the whole clause that follows is technically the subject of the one with является.

  • Thank you! But I am still a little confused about "то"? What role does " " play here? Does it mean "it"? Its just confusing for me because he's not really saying that A is B. He's only saying the his craziest thing he's done is ... The instruemental case here still doesn't make sense for me, because I don't see the A=B that you were talking about.
    – kingkola36
    Aug 16, 2015 at 0:45

являться — can mean something close to "to appear as" —"was as x" "appeared in the image of x". Remember that the verb pair "появляться-появиться" does actually mean that something appeared. But with "являться" in this case we are saying that some object "x" appeared as "y"

I find that as a native speaker the word "as" helps one to understand the instrumental case better. We can say "he was as his sister" meaning he was like his sister, but the word "as" adds more a flavor of existing and taking on all the properties of the other thing (the sister).

Whenever we say that something exists, will exist, or existed as something, the instrumental is used. But in short, just remember that the instrumental is always used after this verb.


Вы можете привести полную цитату из из этого видео, kingkola36 ? "И самым безумным моим поступком является то, что ..." Что этот парень сказал дальше? Это действительно не очень хорошо построенная фраза. Правильнее было бы сказать, например: "И самым моим безумным поступком был прыжок с десятиметровой высоты в воду" или "И самым моим безумным поступком было восхождение на Эверест". Если попытаться продолжить эту фразу, не меняя конструкцию, которую предложили Вы (вернее, тот парень из видео), то получится: "И самым моим безумным поступком является то, что я прыгнул с десятиметровой высоты в воду" или "является то, что я совершил восхождение на Эверест." Это действительно плохой стиль, плохой русский язык.

Can you give the full quote from this video, kingkola36 ? "And the most insane of my deed is that ..." What did this guy say next? It's really not very well constructed phrase. It would be more correct to say, for example: "And my very crazy thing to do was jump from a десятиметровой height into the water" or "And my most insane thing was climbing mount Everest". If you try to continue this sentence without changing the design suggested by You (or rather, the guy from the video) it says: "And my most insane thing is that I jumped from a десятиметровой height into the water" or "is that I climbed mount Everest." This is really bad style, bad Russian language.

  • Heres the full quote: "И самым безумным моим поступком является то, что Я сейчас здесь снимаюсь в заставке".
    – kingkola36
    Aug 16, 2015 at 16:05

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