The two mean the horizontal and vertical position of the object respectively. In Russian, these two verbs are used to clarify the state of one thing on another, which either stands or lies on it. An example of стоять: Поставьте бутылку на стол (Put the bottle [standing OR vertically] on the table).
I guess I have an advantage as a native speaker of another Slavic language, so I use my intuition (or my mother tongue, Czech, respectively) in many cases here.
I'd say that the verb "stand" (стоять) is used with things which are rather high than wide (higher than wider) - e.g. a bottle (as in amins2s' example). Compare it with a standing person vs. a lying person.
When I tried the Dutch course on Duolingo, I realized that these different verbs are used in Dutch as well when describing positions of objects.
That's where a native should care to join in and comment on. I have studied Russian grammar, on and off, for almost 2 years, but to no avail. I'm even correcting native Russian speakers but I can't speak the language myself. There are simply too many rules to it. duolingo's method is probably the best way to learn it, that is, to learn it by examples, until we reach the A1 level.
Not a native, but...
If you mean "why isn't that counted as a correct answer?", usually because лежит was in there and Duo is picky about that kind of thing.
If you mean "what's the difference between keeping or dropping лежит?", my understanding is that they're synonymous, but there may be times when you want to add the verb, like to mirror a question in response, or if you want to sound more "proper".
I don't know Russian that well yet, but I am native Dutch, and Dutch doesn't have a verb for inanimate objects sitting on something, and I assume it works the same in Russian. You just say 'it lies there' or 'it is there'. You can only use 'to sit' when using it as a joke or when the object is literally sitting, like with a puppet or something.
- Both "the apple" and "an apple" are "яблоко" in Russian.
- Except for the times when you say "one apple" which is "одно яблоко".
- When they say that word order isn't important in Russian, it holds true in the sense that you can speak it, think about your intended words, and add them to the end of your sentence. This is not always possible in English. In English, some times you need to go back and correct the structure of your sentence.
- After having said the points above, now I can say that, yes, word order is important in Russian, when you make direct translations.
- There is an apple on the table - На столе лежит яблоко.
- The apple is on the table - Яблоко лежит на столе.
1) You can use is for location, it's just awkward in many cases. "На столе есть яблоко" is correct, but sounds very strange in Russian.
2) In "Яблоко - на столе", the subject is the apple, so it translates to: The apple is on the table. So, like in English, it can be used if you know in advance that there in an apple, but don't know where it is. The sentence "There is an apple on the table", however, doesn't assume prior knowledge of the apple's existence.
Not necessarily, in English I could say that my umbrella was standing in the corner and you would know that I had left it propped upright, as opposed to it's lying on the floor of my car. So, something long can be stood up. I would say an apple or teacup is sitting on the table, but my book is lying on the table. I think that "sitting" is more often used in English. You can also have a picture hanging on a wall, even though it is not actively doing that either. We have secured it to the wall.
Make sure you scroll down and run the joke through Yandex or a similar translator (unless your Russian is far better than mine, then just read it).
You'll be glad you did.
(the gist is - sometimes it makes sense based on the noun and often it very much doesn't)
I think is this an example of topicalization:
In languages with (relatively) fixed word order, the topic and subject are often the same. This is common in English; we tend to stick to subject-verb-object; actor-action-recipient. The apple does the action, the action is laying there, and the table receives the action. So "the apple is on the table" feels natural enough to English speakers.
In languages with less rigid word order, the most "important" or "new" information can be pushed to the front and made the topic of the sentence, even if it's not the subject (i.e., "actor") of the sentence. Usually, there will be markers (as in Japanese or Chinese) or declensions (as there is here--столе is the prepositional case, so it indicates the table's role of serving a location).
English can do it a little bit, especially with prepositional phrases. Think of a tour guide saying "To your right, you'll see Niagara Falls." You are still the actor, because you do the seeing. But the important thing is what's on the ride side of the tour bus, so that gets moved to the front of the sentence.