Verbs of motion (unprefixed)

This is another Russian grammar lesson and today we are focusing on verbs.

There are 14 pairs of Russian verbs you need to learn among other things. It’s the verbs of motion, i.e. the verbs what imply moving from one place to another. They are in a separate group in Russian firstly because of the closeness of their lexical meanings, and secondly because of common word-formation and grammatical properties that distinguish them from other verbs.

In today’s lesson we’ll be looking at unprefixed verbs to understand the general idea. This lesson could be useful both for beginners and for intermediate Russian learners.

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The use of these verbs depends on what type of trip someone performs: in one direction (unidirectional) or it’s a return trip (multidirectional).

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)

If you talk about moving in one direction, use the unidirectional verb. Use these verbs also if you talk about a one-time action or an action which is taking place in this moment.

The mutildirectional verbs must be used when you talk about moving in more than one direction. These verbs are also used to talk in general about going to some place, or when there is no motion, or the number of directions doesn’t matter.


идти́ – ходи́ть

  • Куда́ ты идёшь? – Я иду́ в магази́н.
    Where are you going to? – I’m going to the shop.
  • Я хожу́ на рабо́ту че́рез парк.
    I go to work through the park.

е́хать – е́здить

  • По доро́ге е́дет ско́рая по́мощь.
    An emergency car is going down the road.
  • Гора́здо прия́тнее е́здить на маши́не, чем в метро́.
    It’s much more enjoyable to go by car than on the subway.

бежа́ть – бе́гать

  • Он бежа́л без огля́дки.
    He was running as fast as he could.
  • Я реши́ла бе́гать по утра́м.
    I decided I will jog every morning.

нести́ – носи́ть

  • Он нёс большу́ю су́мку.
    He was carrying a big bag.
  • Заче́м ты всё вре́мя но́сишь таку́ю большу́ю су́мку?
    Why do you carry such a big bag all the time?

вести́ – води́ть

  • Куда́ ведёт э́та доро́га?
    Where does this road lead to?
  • Он во́дит маши́ну сли́шком бы́стро, это опа́сно.
    He drives too fast, it’s dangerous.

гнать – гоня́ть

  • Нам на́до гнать быстре́е, а то мы не успе́ем.
    We have to drive faster or we’ll be late.
  • Он купи́л маши́ну, что́бы про́сто гоня́ть на ней.
    He bought himself a car just for running around in.
Russian Pod 101

2 comments on “Verbs of motion (unprefixed)

  1. Chaize Henri says:

    .Puis je en déduire que les verbes unidirectionnels sont des verbes imperfectifs et que les multidirectionnels sont des verbes perfectifs.

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