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Prefixed Verbs of Motion: Part 2 Posted by on Jul 20, 2011 in language

I was going to make this post about something fun, but that will have to wait until Friday. This is Part 2 of this post. Today, I will be writing about «глаголы движения с приставками» [prefixed verbs of motion]. Last time, we talked about the actual prefixes. Today, I will discuss how some verbs of motion change when prefixed, in addition to two prefixes that can function a bit differently from the others. 


You already know from the last post that the verb «идти» changes when prefixed: it becomes «-йти», as in «прийти», «войти», «сойти», and so on. Three other verbs have changes when they have prefixes added.

  • «ездить» [to go by vehicle] becomes «-езжать»: «приезжать» [to arrive by vehicle], «подъезжать» [to approach by vehicle], «доезжать» [to go up to by vehicle]
  • «плавать» [to swim] becomes «-плывать»: «приплывать» [to arrive by swimming], «уплывать» [to swim away]
  • «бегать» [to run] has a stress change when conjugated with a prefix. Though it is «бегаю» [I run], it becomes «прибегаю» [I run (with an implied meaning of arrival)].

The prefix «с-» can mean movement down from. However, it also has another meaning when used with unprefixed multidirectional verbs of motion. It indicates quick motion somewhere and back. «Например» [For example], with the verb «ходить» [to go by foot], it combines to form «сходить». Note that this is a perfective verb. Some example sentences are: «Она сходила домой за деньгами» [She ran home for her money]. This implies that she went and is now back. «Он сходит в магазин.» [He will run to the store.] This implies that he will go there quickly and then come back.

The prefix «по-» has a similar function when combined with a unidrectional imperfective verb of motion. «Пойти» is a perfective verb that means to set off for a one-way trip. «Они пошли в библиотеку.» [They set off for the library.]

With all these verbs of motion, it is important to discuss modes of transportation. Use «на» + prepositional case to describe what means of transportation used to go somewhere, such as «Я ездила на машине» [I went by car].

I hope this clears up any confusion about prefixed verbs of motion. As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to comment.

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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. Robin:

    This is a very interesting concise overview. Thanks for that. I have been thinking to do something similar for quite a while for my own blog (in German), but it’s a bit difficult as I am a learner myself. Would you mind if I part translated, part rewrote your entries in German for my blog?

  2. Bob:

    This blog is really great for beginners. Have you ever used Eton Institute’s phrasebooks? They are pretty good and affordable and available for Kindle and iPhone/iPad.

  3. Jude:

    -езжать! не ежать…