160 – Prefixed verbs of motion

The audio for the lesson is available at the bottom of the screen under the blue button.

In the last lesson we’ve covered Russian verbs of motion without prefix. Today let’s look at the prefixed verbs of motion.

About the prefixes

In the 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 of the verbs we’ve learned in the previos lesson. 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

Prefixed verbs of motion

Now let’s have a look at how it works with the verbs идти́ / ходи́ть.

Keep in mind, that both these verbs are irregular. When we add a prefix to the verb идти́, the base with which we work changes to -йти.

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
Russian Pod 101

Pay attention that now, when we added a prefix, we are dealing not with the unidirectional or multidirectional verbs but with perfective and imperfective verbs respectively. So when you are pondering which verb of the pair to choose, follow the logic of the verb aspects, which is:

– The Imperfective aspect describes the actions that are taking place at the moment of speaking, actions with no indication of the start and the end, and actions that haven’t finished yet or repeat.

– The Perfective aspect is used to talk about the actions that happened or were supposed to happen once, actions that have finished with success. The Perfective aspect, due to the fact that it implies a finished action, is never used in the Present tense.

More examples

нести́ / носи́тьto carry (unprefixed)

Он несёт су́мку.
нести́ – to carry
He is carrying a bag.
(in one direction: unprefixed, unidirectional, Present tense)

Он принесёт су́мку.
принести́ – to bring
He will bring the bag.
(one-time action: prefixed, perfective, Future tense)

Он унесёт су́мку.
унести́ – to take away
He will take the bag away.
(one-time action: prefixed, perfective, Future tense)

Я всегда́ ношу́ с собо́й па́спорт.
носи́ть – to carry
I always carry my passport with me.
(repeated action: unprefixed, multidirectional, Present tense)

Мы прино́сим ему́ е́ду ка́ждый день.
приноси́ть – to bring
We bring him food every day.
(repeated action: prefixed, imperfective, Present tense)

Он выно́сит му́сор в шесть часо́в.
выноси́ть – to take out
He is taking out the garbage at six o’clock.
(repeated action: prefixed, imperfective, Present tense)

лете́ть / лета́тьto fly (unprefixed)

Смотри́, пти́ца лети́т.
лете́ть – to fly
Look, a bird flies.
(happening right now: unprefixed, unidirectional, Present tense)

В окно́ залете́ла пти́ца.
залете́ть – to fly in
A bird flew through the window.
(happened once: prefixed, perfective, Past tense)

Он прилете́л вчера́.
прилете́ть – to arrive by flying
He arrived (by plane) yesterday.
(happened once: prefixed, perfective, Past tense)

Самолёты лета́ют высоко́.
лета́ть – to fly
Planes fly high.
(in general: unprefixed, multidirectional, Present tense)

Самолёт взлета́ет.
взлета́ть – to take off
The plane is taking off.
(happening right now: prefixed, imperfective, Present tense)

Самолёт прилета́ет ско́ро.
прилета́ть – to arrive by flying
The plane arrives soon.
(action hasn’t finished yet: prefixed, imperfective, Present tense)

The audio for this lesson includes the table with the verbs and examples.

Exercises

Fill up the gaps with the correct prefixed verb if motion (choose from offered options) in the correct form:

1. Он … от меня́. (убежа́ть / убега́ть)
He run away from me.

2. Я … тебе́ докуме́нты ве́чером. (занести́ / заноси́ть)
I’ll bring the documents to you in the evening.

3. За буйки́ … нельзя́. (заплы́ть / заплыва́ть)
Swimming beyond the buoys is not allowed.

4. … к нам в го́сти. (зайти́ / заходи́ть)
Come to visit us (when you can).

5. Зайди́ ко мне на мину́тку. (зайти́ / заходи́ть)
Come to me for a minute (right now).

6. За́втра мы … (уе́хать / уезжа́ть)
Tomorrow we are leaving.

7. Он .. вчера́. (уе́хать / уезжа́ть)
He left yesterday.


1. убежа́л (finished action, perfective, Past tense)
2. занесу́ (one-time action, perfective, Future tense)
3. заплыва́ть (in general, imperfective, infinitive)
4. заходи́ (does not matter the time, imperfective, Imperative)
5. зайди́ (right now, perfective, Imperative)
6. уезжа́ем (not finished action, imperfective, Present tense)
7. уе́хал (finished action, perfective, Past tense)

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