Russian verbs of motion (prefixed)

Russian verbs of motion are one of the most challenging parts of Russian grammar. Today we’ll try to show you that they are easier than you think.

In this lesson we are covering the prefixed verbs of motion (глаго́лы движе́ния с приста́вками). Check out the previous lesson where we covered the unprefixed verbs of motion.

Let’s recall the unprefixed verbs of motion we’ve learned last time. They are:

unidirectional
(one-way)
multidirectional
(return trip)
translation
идти́ ходи́ть to go (by foot)
бежа́ть бе́гать to run
е́хать е́здить to go (by transport)
лете́ть лета́ть to fly
плыть пла́вать to swim, to sail
тащи́ть таска́ть to drag, to pull
кати́ть ката́ть to roll, to wheel
нести́ носи́ть to carry, to wear
вести́ води́ть to drive (a car), to lead, to accompany
везти́ вози́ть to carry (by vehicle)
ползти́ по́лзать to crawl
лезть ла́зить / ла́зать to climb
брести́ броди́ть to stroll
гнать гоня́ть to drive (~ to force to move)

Prefixed verbs of motion

In Russian language, the prefixes are used to change the meaning of the words. By adding a prefix (a few extra letters in the beginning of the word) you can change the meaning of each the verbs we’ve learned. Here is list of possible prefixes:

Prefix Meaning
в- in
вы- out
вc-/вз- up
с- down from
у- from
за- drop in, stop by
до- as far as, reach
об- around
от- away
при- arrival
под- approach
про- through, pass
пере- across
ис-/из- origin, provenance, action

Let’s have a look how it works on the example of the verbs «идти / ходить».

* Note: as you can see below the verb «идти» changes its initial form when a prefix is added, so instead of «идти» we will work with «-йти» base.

идти́ ходи́ть to go (by foot), to walk
войти́ входи́ть to go in, to enter
вы́йти выходи́ть to go out, to leave, to exit
взoйти́ вcходи́ть to go up, to ascend
сойти́ сходи́ть to go down, decend
уйти́ уходи́ть to go from, to leave, depart
зайти́ заходи́ть to drop in, to stop by
дойти́ доходи́ть to get to, to get as far as, to reach
обойти́ обходи́ть to walk around, to bypass
отойти́ отходи́ть to walk away
подойти́ подходи́ть to approach
прийти́ приходи́ть to arrive, to come
пройти́ проходи́ть to go by, to go past
перейти́ переходи́ть to go across, to turn
произойти́ происходи́ть to happen

The notable thing is that now, instead of unidirectional or multi-directional verbs, we have the verbs in the perfective and imperfective aspect. The aspects is a topic that would be enough for another lesson, today we’ll just say that in the present tense you need to always use the second of the verbs above.

Let’s look at more examples to help you grasp the general idea of today’s lesson:

Нести́ (unidirectional)

Он несёт су́мку. – He is carrying a bag.
Он принесёт су́мку. – He will bring the bag.
Он унесёт су́мку. – He will take the bag away.

Лета́ть (multidirectional)

Самолёты лета́ют высоко́. – Planes fly high.
Самолёт взлета́ет. – The plane is taking off.
Самолёт прилета́ет ско́ро. – The plane arrives soon.

Now you are familiar with Russian prefixed verbs of motion. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments. We are always happy to hear from you and to help you.

Russian Pod 101
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12 comments on “Russian verbs of motion (prefixed)

  1. Again, bravo. You are really helping me. Your lessons are just the right size and difficulty level for an intermediate student like me.

  2. I wish you had a longer pause between the vocabulary words. I want to try to read the words as they are being spoken. Also I don’t get a chance to repeat the words after they are spoken. A 1 or 2 second pause between words would be better. Also each verb should have it’s own example. That way I can go to my Russian speaking friends and actually say something I have learned, rather than just a word.

    • Everyday Russian says:

      Hello Jim,

      There is only that much that we can include in one lesson. But we appreciate your feedback and next time we’ll try to make the pauses longer.

      • Hi, yes a couple of seconds’ pause would allow me to take in fully the meaning of the words.
        And yes, a list of verbs withouth examples just goes in one ear and out the other whereas I can learn examples by heart and use them as a template in my conversations.
        But these are only suggestions, you’re doing a great job anyway.
        I think this is by far the best site for the intermediate level.
        Keep up the good job!
        Ferruccio from Venice – Italy

  3. I’m sorry, but I didn’t find this useful at all. This is just a list of words that is available almost anywhere on the Internet or in books. Without actual examples it’s just not very helpful. For example, what exactly does “to go, (return trip)” mean in practice? If I’m walking to work, I will make a return trip eventually, but not for several hours. So which word to use? In fact, it’s nearly impossible to go anywhere without an eventual return trip. Very confusing! I think it would be far better to just start with 4 verbs and use them in various sentences to help the student become comfortable with using them. Then add additional words in future lessons. I do appreciate the effort, however.

    • Everyday Russian says:

      Hello DX,

      Thank you for your feedback. To help you to make sense of it, you should consider if the trip is ‘return’ or not in the context of the sentence only.
      If your sentence is about something that happened on the way, that describes precisely that time of performing action that you are talking about, it’s one-way direction. For example:
      – Нам удалось поспать, пока мы летели в самолете.
      – We managed to have some sleep while were in the plane.
      If you are talking about what happens every time the action is performed, it’s multi directional:
      – Он летает в Москву каждый месяц.
      – He flies to Moscow every month.

      More examples:
      If I say ‘я иду на работу’, I speak about this exact moment, maybe because I’m answering my mobile phone and saying where I am.
      If I say ‘я хожу на работу’, I’m talking about all the times that I go to work, for example to say that I walk through a park every time.

      I hope this helps. In any case, we find your suggestion quite interesting and will prepare a more detailed lesson in the future. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Hi, the lesson was very helpful for me. Thanks for your efforts and we should remember that your toils are for free. I searched in our local websites in my country AND REALLY I FOUND NOTHING. Thanks again

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