Stay can have many meanings in the books and stories we read. A young hero may stay the course and reach his or her goal through persistence. Or characters might stay in exciting new locations on vacation or on an adventure. Stay can be used as both a noun and a verb.
When a young hero stays the course to reach a challenging goal, stay is used as a verb. It means that the young hero is continuing on his mission to reach his challenging goal. If characters are remaining in an exciting new location, stay is being used as a noun. For example, “we intend to stay in the Amazon for two months.”
On the other hand, if the word stay implies a location of a temporary place of residence, stay is being used as verb. “While we are in the Amazon we stay with family.”
• How is being asked to stay in one place different than staying at home?
• How is continuing in a place or situation different than enduring the same place or situation?
• Is stay being used in the same way when discussing a vacation location and your home?
The word stay comes from the Old French word estais. The Spanish word for stay is quedarse. Although stay and quedarse are not cognates, stay has many synonyms that are. For example, the verb to reside and residir or the verb to persist and persistir.
There are many subtle differences in the how the word stay is used that may be confusing to students. Three general themes categorize the differences in definitions that may be noticed: stopping movements/actions, remaining/continuing, and living/residing. In each theme the word stay can be used as a verb and a noun.