Russian Language Blog

Prefixed Verbs of Motion: Part 1 Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in language


«Дорогие друзья» [Dear friends], I have finally returned. «Я вернулась в Америку в июне» [I returned to America in June], but I almost immediately got sick. I am feeling better, so it’s about time for me to return to writing the Russian blog. Today we are going to talk about «самая важная тема» [the most important topic] on our Russian blog: «грамматика» [grammar]. The focus of this post will be «глаголы движения с приставками» [prefixed verbs of motion]. 

«Образование» [Formation]

«Глаголы движения с приставками» [prefixed verbs of motion] are formed by adding «приставки» [prefixes] to already existing verbs of motion. The unidirectional verb will be perfective, and the multidirectional will be imperfective. Let us look at a few «примеры» [examples].

With the verbs «ходить/идти» [to go by foot], the first one is multidirectional and the second is unidirectional. If we add the prefix «при-», which gives the meaning of arrival, the verb pair becomes «приходить/прийти» [to arrive by foot]. Just like most other Russian verbs, the first one in this pair is imperfective, and the second is perfective. Also, we can see that «идти» changes when a prefix is added to it. I will discuss such exceptions further in Part 2 of this post.

So, what are some of the prefixes? We already know «при-», but there are many more. Here are some prefixes that you will encounter, along with prepositions with which they are used.

  • «при- + в/на; к кому»: arriving
  • «у- + в/на что; к кому; из/с чего»: leaving, departing
  • «в- + в/на что»: into
  • «вы- + в/на что; из/с чего»: out of
  • «под- + к кому/чему»: approaching
  • «от- + от кого/чего»: moving away from
  • «вз-, вс-, воз-, вос-»: moving up
  • «с- + с чего»: moving down
  • «за- + к кому; в/на что»: dropping by, stopping in
  • «за- + за кем/чем»: picking someone up, getting something
  • «пере- + через что»: movement across
  • «про- + в/на что; к чему»: getting somewhere
  • «про- что»: passing something unintentionally
  • «про- + мимо чего»: going past
  • «про- + через что»: passing through
  • «про- + по чему»: moving along something
  • «до- + до чего»: moving as far as, reaching something

Both «с-» and «пере-» are associated with some idiomatic expressions. «Сходить/сойти с ума» [to lose one’s mind] and «сводить/свести кого-то с ума» [to drive someone crazy] are important expressions to know. «Переходить/перейти на новую работу» [to change jobs] and «переежать/переехать» [to move] are also important (and in the case of changing jobs, common due to the current economic crisis).

There is so much to talk about when it comes to «глаголы движения с приставками» [prefixed verbs of motion], so I am not nearly finished. Part 2 of this post will discuss some changes that happen to verbs of motion when they become prefixed, as well as another use of the prefix «с-». Also, I will discuss modes of transportation.

Questions? Comments? Want some example sentences? Please let me know with the comment form below!

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About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


  1. Angela:

    Please correct:

    Соходить -> Сходить

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Scott Simko:

    Yes PLEASE prefixed verbs of motion example sentences!!!!

    Thank you!!!


  3. Natalie:

    Angela: corrected, thanks for letting me know 🙂

    Scott: I will hunt down example sentences for a post next week, so please check back then.