Basic Russian for beginners
Now I'm going home.
I always go home on foot.
In this lesson you will learn:
- the verbs of motion in Russian
Useful phrase in Russian
Listen and repeat the following sentence:
Сейча́с я иду́ домо́й. Я всегда́ хожу́ домо́й пешко́м
syej-chás ya i-dú da-mój. ya fsyeg-dá ha-zhú da-mój pyesh-kóm
Now I'm going home. I always go home on foot
The verbs of motion in Russian: As you have seen in previous lessons, the Russian verbs give more information than the verbs in English. That's why to express the meaning of a single verb in Russian, we need many words in English.
The Russian verbs of motion aren't an exception. In this lesson you will learn important points about them.
Read, listen and repeat the basic vocabulary of this lesson:
swimming pool / spa
бассе́йн / санато́рий
sport / athlete
спорт / спортсме́н
настоя́щий/-ая/-ее (singular), настоя́щие (plural)
plane / by plane
самолёт / на самолёте
bad / he feels bad
пло́хо / ему́ пло́хо
Rome, Egypt, Kremlin
Рим, Еги́пет, Кремль
year / years
год / лет
on foot, to go on foot
пешко́м, ходи́ть пешко́м
Verbs of motion: imperfective
In this lesson you will see Russian verbs of motion both perfective and imperfective.
As you can see, the perfective verbs are formed adding the prefix -по to the imperfective verb.
Russian: imperfective verbs of motion
to go (on foot)
ходи́ть (regularly) / идти́ (in a specific direction)
ir (to go (in a vehicle))
е́здить (regularly) / е́хать (in a specific direction)
лета́ть (regularly) / лете́ть (in a specific direction)
бе́гать (regularly) / бежа́ть (in a specific direction)
In the grammar section you will see the whole conjugation of each verb
Russian: perfective verbs of motion
to go (on foot)
to go (in a vehicle)
Dialogues in Russian
With extra help for verbs!
Now you are going to see three dialogues with Russian verbs of motion.
We are going to help you:
Imperfective verbs of motion
- verbs that express a repeating motion / movement (to go to a place regularly) will be highlighted.
- verbs that express a motion / movement in a single direction will be highlighted.
Perfective verbs of motion
- perfective verbs of motion will be highlighted
Hi Lena, where are you going?
Приве́т, Ле́на. Куда́ ты идёшь?
Good morning, Anton. I'm going o the swimming pool. I (usually) go to the swimming pool every morning. And you?
До́брое у́тро, Анто́н. Я иду́ в бассе́йн. Я хожу́ в бассе́йн ка́ждое у́тро. А ты?
I also love sports. Now I'm going to the park. I (usually) run there every day.
Я то́же люблю́ спорт. Сейча́с я иду́ в парк. Я бе́гаю там ка́ждый день.
Look, Michael is running!
Смотри́, Майкл бежи́т!
Yes, he (usually) runs every day too. Michael, come here! He says that he can't talk now. He is running
Да, он то́же бе́гает ка́ждый день. Майкл, иди́ сюда́! Он говори́т, что не мо́жет разгова́ривать сейча́с. Он бежи́т.
You are real athletes. Now I also want to run!
Вы настоя́щие спортсме́ны. Сейча́с я то́же хочу́ бе́гать!
At the underground
Hi Masha. Where are you travelling for Christmas?
Приве́т, Ма́ша. Куда́ вы пое́дете на Рождество́?
We are going to a spa. Usually we travel to Egypt, but Michael doesn't want to fly (=to fly there) on a plane.
Мы пое́дем в санато́рий. Обы́чно мы е́здим в Еги́пет, но Майкл не хо́чет лете́ть на самолёте.
He doesn't want to fly (=to fly there)? But, why? I love flying (regularly) by plane.
Он не хо́чет лете́ть? Но почему́? Я люблю́ лета́ть на самолёте!
He always fells bad when he flies (regularly) by plane.
Ему́ всегда́ пло́хо, когда́ он лета́ет на самолёте.
And we will fly to Rome for Christmas! We (usually) fly to Rome every year!
А мы полети́м в Рим на Рождество́! Мы лета́ем в Рим ка́ждый год.
Great! And where are you going now? I thought that you never (usually) travel on the underground.
Здо́рово! А куда́ ты сейча́с е́дешь? Я ду́мала, ты никогда́ не е́здишь на метро́.
You are right. Usually I don't travel on the underground. But now I'm going to the theatre and it's close to the underground.
Ты права́. Обы́чно я не е́зжу на метро́. Но сейчас я е́ду в теа́тр и он ря́дом с метро́.
I love travelling (regularly) on the underground. Oops, this is my stop. Bye! By the way, tomorrow I'm going to the cinema. Do you want to go?
А я люблю́ е́здить на метро́. Ой, э́то моя́ остано́вка! Пока́! Кста́ти, за́втра я пойду́ в кино́. Хо́чешь пойти́?
Good idea! Tomorrow we will go to the cinema. See you!
Хоро́шая иде́я! За́втра мы пойдём в кино́. До встре́чи!
Hi, Masha and Michael, where are you going ?
Приве́т, Ма́ша и Майкл, куда́ вы идёте?
we are going to the theatre. And you?
Мы идём в теа́тр. А ты?
I am going to the Kremlin. I think it's interesting there.
А я иду́ в Кремль. Ду́маю, там о́чень интере́сно.
You are right. We went there yesterday. Very interesting!
Ты права́. Мы ходи́ли туда́ вчера́. О́чень интере́сно!
And where were you going yesterday evening, when I saw you? I was going to the park.
А куда́ вы шли вчера́ ве́чером, когда́ я вас ви́дела? Я шла в парк.
We were going to the cinema. We (usually) go to the cinema every Sunday.
Мы шли в кино́. Мы хо́дим в кин́о ка́ждое воскресе́нье.
Before, I also used to go to the cinema every Sunday. But now I (usually) go to the park. Usually I run there one hour.
Ра́ньше я то́же ходи́ла в кино́ ка́ждое воскресе́нье. А сейча́с я хожу́ в парк. Обы́чно я бе́гаю там оди́н час.
Before, we used to run every day, but not now... We see that you love running (regularly) and walking (regularly).
Ра́ньше мы бе́гали ка́ждый день, но сейча́с нет... Мы ви́дим, что ты лю́бишь бе́гать и ходи́ть пешко́м.
You are right, I always go (regularly) on foot. It's very healthy.
Вы пра́вы, я всегда́ хожу́ пешко́м. Э́то о́чень поле́зно.
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Read the following grammar explanations for this lesson:
Russian verbs of motion
We are going to have a look at the Russian verbs that mean "to go", "to run", "to fly",... that is, Russian verbs of motion.
For each English verb of motion, we have two verbs in Russian. Look here at these two meanings of the verb "to go":
- I usually go to the cinema with Pedro --> Here we express a routine, a movement that we usually/frequently do. We make a "multidirectional motion" (return trip), which is going from home to the cinema and back home.
- I'm going to the cinema with Pedro --> Here we express that we are "on our way" to the cinema. We make a "unidirectional motion" (one-way trip), which is going from home to the cinema.
As you can see in both cases we use the same English verb (to go), but in Russian we use two different verbs:
- I usually go to the cinema = Я хожу́ в кино́ (verb ходи́ть).
- I'm going to the cinema = Я иду́ в кино́ (verb идти́).
- ходи́ть: means "to go regularly, to go there and return". It's a multidireccional verb of motion.
- идт́и: means "to be going there, to go on a single direction". It's a unidireccional verb of movement.
Multidirectional and unidirectional verbs of motion
As you can see, we have two kind of verbs of motion:
- Multidirectional verbs of motion, which mean "to go often/regularly/frequently, to go and return".
- Unidirectional verbs of motion, which mean "to be going somewhere".
We take another example: "Mark flies to Madrid". If we want to say...
...Mark usually/regularly flies to Madrid, we would use the multidirectional verb лета́ть = "Марк лета́ет в Мадри́д"
...Mark is flying to Madrid, we would use the unidireccional verb лете́ть = "Марк лети́т в Мадри́д"
Russian verbs of motion in the past
Have a look at these two sentences and how we translate them into Russian:
...We used to go to the cinema. Many times we did the trip home-->cinema-->home. That's a multidirectional motion.
In this case we use the multidirectional verb of motion ходи́ть and we say in Russian "Мы ходи́ли в кино́".
...We were going to the cinema. We were doing the trip home-->cinema, we were on our way to the cinema.
That's a unidireccional motion. We use the unidirectional verb of motion идти́ and we say in Russian "Мы шли в кино́".
Remember that the verb идти́ has irregular past forms: шёл (masculine), шла (feminine), шли (plural).
Pay attention: This is important
If we want to say a very common phrase like "We went to the cinema (only once)", we will use the same verb as in "we used to go to the cinema (regularly). We only have to add context to the phrase:
- Мы ходи́ли в кино́ вчера́ = We went to the cinema yesterday / We were in the cinema yesterday.
- Мы ходи́ли в кино́, когда́ мы жи́ли в Москве́ = We used to go to the cinema when we were living in Moscow.
This means that Мы ходи́ли в кино́ means always that we did the trip home-->cinema-->home.
The rest of the sentences (вчера́ / когда́ мы жи́ли в Москве́) will let us know if the trip was done once or many times.
On the other hand, a sentence like Мы шли в кино́ means always that we were doing the trip home-->cinema.
As you can see, it is easy to understand why they call them multidirectional and unidirectional verbs of motion.
As you have seen, for each English verb of motion (to go, to run, to fly,...) there are two Russian verbs:
- Multidirectional verb of motion: This verb means "to make regularly a movement" (usually to go to a place and back).
- If the verb is in the present, we talk about a movement that we usually do.
- If the verb is in the past, we talk about a movement that we used to do.
- If the verb is in the past, it also means that we have been in a place (only once) / we went there and came back.
- If the verb is in the present, we talk about the movement that we are doing right now.
- If the verb is in the past, we talk about that movement that we were doing in that moment.
Russian verbs of motion conjugated
Multidirectional verbs of motion
The following verbs express motion in different directions (usually "go there and back" / "return trip" / "round-trip").
- In the present: they express that you usually go (and come back) regularly to a place.
- In the past: they express that you used to go (and come back) regularly to a place.
Ходи́ть (to go on foot)
Я хожу́ = I usually go
Ты хо́дишь = You usually go
Он хо́дит = He usually goes
Мы хо́дим = We usually go
Вы хо́дите = You usually go
Они́ хо́дят = They usually go
ходи́л (masc.) = I/you/he used to go
ходи́ла (fem.) = I/you/she used to go
ходи́ли (plural) = You/we/they used to go
Е́здить (to travel / to go using a vehicle)
Я е́зжу = I usually go
Ты е́здишь = You usually go
Он е́здит = He usually goes
Мы е́здим = We usually go
Вы е́здите = You usually go
Они́ е́здят = They usually go
е́здил (masc.) = I/you/he used to go
е́здила (fem.) = I/you/she used to go
е́здили (plural) = You/we/they used to go
Лета́ть (to fly)
Я лета́ю = I usually fly
Ты лета́ешь = You usually fly
Он лета́ет = He usually flies
Мы лета́ем = We usually fly
Вы лета́ете = You usually fly
Они́ лета́ют = They usually fly
лета́л (masc.) = I/you/he used to fly
лета́ла (fem.) = I/you/she used to fly
лета́ли (plural) = You/we/they used to fly
Е́здить (to run)
Я бе́гаю = I usually run
Ты бе́гаешь = You usually run
Он бе́гает = He usually runs
Мы бе́гаем = We usually run
Вы бе́гаете = You usually run
Они́ бе́гают = They usually run
бе́гал (masc.) = I/you/he used to run
бе́гала (fem.) = I/you/she used to run
бе́гали (plural) = You/we/they used to run
Unidirectional verbs of motion
The following verbs express motion in a single direction (that is, the direction you are moving towards).
- In the present: they express that you are moving (going to a place) now.
- In the past: they express that you were moving (going to a place) in the past.
Идти́ (to go)
Я иду́ = I am going
Ты идёшь = You are going
Он идёт = He is going
Мы идём = We are going
Вы идёте = You are going
Они́ иду́т = They are going
шёл (masc.) = I/you/he was going
шла (fem.) = I/you/she was
шли (plural) = We/you/they were going
Е́хать (to travel / to go using a vehicle)
Я е́ду = I am going
Ты е́дешь = You are going
Он е́дет = He is going
Мы е́дем = We are going
Вы е́дете = You are going
Они́ е́дут = They are going
е́хал (masc.) = I/you/he was going
е́хала (fem.) = I/you/she was
е́хали (plural) = We/you/they were going
Лете́ть (to fly)
Я лечу́ = I am flying
Ты лети́шь = You are flying
Он лети́т = He is flying
Мы лети́м = We are flying
Вы лети́те = You are flying
Они́ летя́т = They are flying
лете́л (masc.) = I/you/he was flying
лете́ла (fem.) = I/you/he was, I/you/he was flying
лете́ли (plural) = We/you/they were flying
Бежа́ть (to run)
Я бегу́ = I am running
Ты бежи́шь = You are running
Он бежи́т = He is running
Мы бежи́м = We are running
Вы бежи́те = You are running
Они́ бегу́т = They are running
бежа́л (masc.) = I/you/he was running
бежа́ла (fem.) = I/you/he was, I/you/he was running
бежа́ли (plural) = We/you/they were running
Perfective verbs of motion
Every verb of motion that you have seen in the tables above are imperfective (no matter if they are multidirectional or unidirectional). If we take a unidirectional verb and we add the prefix -по, we get a perfective verb. But, the same will not happen with a multidirectional verb: if we add -по, the verb is still imperfective.
In the dialogues section we have seen some examples of these perfective verbs highlighted.
The perfective verbs of motion that you have seen in the lesson are:
- пойти́ (to go on foot)
- пое́хать (to travel / to move using a vehicle)
- полете́ть (to fly)
to conjugate these verbs, you one have to take the verb from the table above and add -по.
What happens when there is not a final destination?
In all the examples we have studied we talk about "to go to the cinema" o "to fly to Madrid". That is, we talked about going to a precise destination.
But we could also talk about movements as in "I'm walking on the park" or "I'm running on the beach". That is, we would talk about moving without any particular destination. In these cases we use multidirectional verbs:
- Я хожу́ по па́рку: I'm walking in the park (unidirectional: Я иду́ в парк: I'm walking to the park)
- Я бе́гаю на стадио́не: I'm running in the stadium (unidirectional: Я бегу́ на стадио́н: I'm running to the stadium)
Check how much you have learnt in this lesson:
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