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Brief And Clear about Russian Verbs of Movement: Part 1

Everybody who studies Russian language as foreign, in other words one who hasn't been listening to Russian speech from early childhood and doesn't "feel" Russian language as a mother-tongue, faces the problem of using Russian verbs of movement in speech on the very first stage of learning Russian. For instance, if any move, no matter whether it is performed with the help of transport or not, can be characterized with the help of verb "to go" in English, such simple decisions are not involved in Russian. There are particular verbs for each mentioned action in Russian language, what is more, there are two for each.

So, a pair of verbs used for characterization of the movement without the help of any vehicle is «идти» and «ходить». Sometimes they can be translated into English as «to walk», but not in all cases. Let's define in what situations each of the verbs of this pair is used.

 

 

ИДТИ /TO GO/
я иду /I go/ мы идём /we go/
ты идёшь /you go/ вы идёте /you go/
он (она) идёт /he (she) goes/          они идут /they go/

 

We use the verb «идти» /to go/

  • For characterization of a single action which happens at the present moment (the process): Я иду в школу (сейчас) /I am walking to school (now)/.

  • For characterization of a single action planned for the future: Завтра я иду в школу /I will go to school tomorrow/

The main secret of using the verb «идти» in Russian is that it characterizes unidirectional motion, which is the motion directed from one place to another, one way only. Schematically, it can be pictured in the following way:

 

 

ХОДИТЬ /TO GO/
я хожу /I go/   мы ходим /we go/  
ты ходишь /you go/ вы ходите /you go/
он (она) ходит /he (she) goes           они ходят /they go/

 

 

The verb «ходить», as well as «идти», is used for the description of a motion, performed without the help of any vehicle, but characterizes: a repeated (regular), not single action. The frequency of action (motion) can be indicated by the following words or word combinations: каждый день /every day/, ежедневно /daily/, каждую неделю /every week/, каждый месяц /every month/, каждый год /every year/, всегда /always/, часто /often/ etc.

 

Я хожу в школу каждый день /I go to school every day/.

 

The essential principle of usage of the verb «ходить» lies in the fact that it characterizes differently directed movements. While the sentence «Я иду в школу» /I am walking to school/ means that I am going in one direction from home to school,  the sentence «Я хожу в школу каждый день» /I go to school every day/ means that I perform an action directed there and back every day: from home to school and vice versa, from school to home, and then repeat both actions the next day.

Also, for the correct using of this pair of verbs of movement you should memorize the following set expressions. Дождь /rain/, снег /snow/, время /time/, письмо /letter/ always идут /go/.

 

  • Снег идёт весь день /It is raining all day/.
  • Осенью часто идет дождь /It is often raining in autumn/.
  • Твое письмо идёт ко мне слишком долго /Your letter hasn't been delivered to me for too long/.
  • Когда человек занят работой, время идёт быстро /The time passes fast when a person is busy/.

 

The next pair of verbs we will be talking about characterizes the movement on vehicle. These are the verbs «ехать» and «ездить».

 

ЕХАТЬ /TO GO/ ЕЗДИТЬ /TO GO/
я еду /I go/ мы едем /we go/           я езжу /I go/ мы ездим /we go/
ты едешь /you go/ вы едете /you go/  ты ездишь /you go/ вы ездите /you go/
он (она) едет /he (she) goes/        они едут /they go/ он (она) ездит /he (she) goes/   они ездят /they go/

 

 

While using this pair of verbs, we should follow the same principles described above for the verbs «идти» and «ходить», but we shouldn't forget that the movement happens with the help of transport: ехать на велосипеде /to go by bike/, ездить на машине /to go by car/ etc.

The verb «ехать» is used:

 

  • For characterization of a single action happening at present moment (the process): Я еду в школу (сейчас) /I'm going to school (now)/. In this case using the verb «ехать» means that the action is performed at the moment with the help of transport. Also, we can indicate this or that means of transport in this sentence. For instance: «Я еду в школу на автобусе» /I'm going to school by bus/.
  • For characterization of a single action planned for the future: Завтра я еду в другой город /I will go to another city tomorrow/.

 

Therefore, we shouldn't forget that the main rule of using the verb «ехать» in Russian lies in characterization of unidirectional motion, which is the motion directed from one place to another, one way only, which considers the movenent on some kind of transport only. Schematically, it can be pictured in the following way:

 

 

The verb «ездить», as well as «ехать», is used for describing the movement performed with the help of transport; however, it characterizes: a repeated (regular), not single action. The frequency of action (motion) can be indicated by the following words or word combinations: каждый день /every day/, ежедневно /daily/, каждую неделю /every week/, каждый месяц /every month/, каждый год /every year/, всегда /always/, часто /often/ etc.

 

Я езжу в школу каждый день /I go to school every day/.

 

The essential principle of using the verb «ходить» lies in the fact that it characterizes differently directed movements. While the sentence «Я иду в школу» /I am walking to school/ means that I am going in one direction from home to school,  the sentence «Я хожу в школу каждый день» /I go to school every day/ means that I perform an action directed there and back every day: from home to school and vice versa, from school to home, and then repeat both actions the next day.

 

 

Thuswise, we have learnt four major verbs of movement which denote: movement without the help of transport (идти и ходить) and movement with the help of transport (ехать и ездить). Each abovementioned pair includes a verb characterizing unidirectional motion (идти, ехать) and differently directed movements (ходить, ездить). Also, we shouldn't forget that such things, phenomena, and categories as дождь /rain/, снег /snow/, время /time/ and письма /letters/ can идти /go/ in Russian. And finally, when you едете or ездите, you perform these actinos НА транспорте /ON transport/. Don't forget about the combination of the preposition «на» /on/ with the name of certain means of transport (automobile (car), bus, train etc.) in prepositional case.

And if you wish to know about the peculiarities of using such verbs of movement without prepositions as бежать (бегать) /to run/, лететь (летать) /to fly/, плыть (плавать) /to swim/, wait for my next articles. Good luck in learning Russian!


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