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Verbs of motion without prefixes

Hello, dear student! Today I would like to talk about verbs of motion which do not have prefixes. Foreign students often mix them up; these are such verbs, as:

Бежать - Бегать [bizhat' - begat']
Идти - ходить [iti - khadit']
Лететь - летать [litet' - litat']
Плыть - плавать [plyt' - plavat']

So how to distinguish these verbs and use in our speech correctly? Let's look at the meanings of these verbs:

Бежать за автобусом [Bizhat' za aftobusam] - To run after the bus
Бегать по утрам [Begat' pa utram] - To run in the morning/ Morning running
Идти за собакой [Iti za sabakaj] - To follow the dog
Ходить пешком [Khadit' pishkom] - To walk
Лететь высоко [Litet' vysako] - To fly high
Летать самолетом [Litat' samalyotam] - To fly by plane/ To use plane to get somewhere
Плыть на лодочке [Plyt' na lodachke] - To boat
Плавать в пруду [Plavat' f prudu] - To swim in a pond

The examples show that the verbs mean actually different actions but, nevertheless, it's rather difficult for foreigners to determine the correct usage of this or that verb. That's why I suggest to memorize these verbs in the following way:

Бежать [bizhat'] - to run
Идти [iti] - to go
Лететь [litat'] - to fly
Плыть [plyt'] - to float

These verbs show to an interlocutor and a speaker that action is taking place in one-way order, i.e. for example, a person goes to the theater: "Идти в театр" - an action is directed to only one way to the theater. The verb does not tell us that somebody has come back. Only one-way direction.

The verbs:

Бегать [begat'] - to run
Ходить [khadit'] - to go
Летать [litat'] - to fly
Плавать [plavat'] - to float

show us that it is two-way action, i.e. for example,

Мои родители ездили в июне в Россию [Mai raditeli ezdili v iyune v Rasiyu] - My parents were/went to Russia in June.

The example shows that parents have paid visit to Russia and logically they have returned to their home again because there is no information that they've stayed there.

One more example:

Я люблю ходить в лес за грибами [Ya lyublyu khadit' v les za gribami] - I like to go to the forest to pick up some mushrooms

This example shows that a person has gone to the forest, picked mushrooms and come back. He hasn't stayed in the forest but returned to home.

Compare such verbs in sentences as an example:

Мне пришлось бежать за ней до дома - I had to run after her straight to her house.

Бегать по вечерам на стадионе является полезным для здоровья занятием - Evening running at the stadium is very healthy occupation.

Ей пришлось много ходить пешком во время болезни - She had to walk on foot a lot, when she was ill.

Идти к магазину надо было через лес - We needed to go through the forest to reach the store.

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