Russian Language Blog

Stop And Go: Russian Verbs For Taking About Processes Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in language

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It may sometimes be useful to talk about the phases of a process — beginning, interrupting, picking up, and finishing actions. Below are some verbs that will help you express these temporal notions.


Начинать (imperfective)/начать (perfective) means to begin. It can be followed by an infinite or by a noun in the accusative case.

  • Мы начали изучать алгебру в пятом классе (We started learning algebra in the 5th grade/form).
  • Музыканты долго не начинали концерт (The musicians took a while to begin the concert).

The related noun is начало.


Продолжать/продолжить means to continue. As above, it can be followed by an infinitive or an accusative noun. I would say the noun structure sounds more elegant and is more likely to be encountered in writing.

  • Продолжим дискуссию (Let’s continue our discussion).
  • Друзья продолжали встречаться по выходным (The friends continued meeting on the weekends).

The noun is продолжение, as in “продолжение следует” (“to be continued”).


Прекращать/прекратить means to stop doing something. This can come before an accusative noun or an infinitive. Again, the noun form will probably prevail in writing.

  • Рабочие прекратили забастовку (The workers have ended the strike).
  • После ухода руководителя клуб прекратил существовать (After the manager left, the club stopped its existence).

The related noun is прекращение, as in “прекращение огня” (“ceasefire”).


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Прерывать/прервать means to interrupt your or someone else’s activities, possibly abruptly or temporarily. This can only be followed by a noun.

  • После получения экстренного сообщения делегаты прервали обсуждение (After receiving an urgent message, the delegates interrupted the discussion).

This verb can also be used reflexively — прерываться/прерваться.

  • В комнату вошли Наталья и Вера, и разговор прервался (Natalia and Vera entered the room, and the conversation stopped). [Василий Гроссман. Жизнь и судьба, часть 3 (1960)]

A useful related word to know is перерыв — a break.


Возобновлять/возобновить refers to resuming an activity. It is followed by an accusative noun.

  • Газета возобновила работу в прошлом году (The newspaper resumed its operations last year).

This verb can also be reflexive — возобновляться.

  • Между Кенией и Израилем возобновится регулярное авиасообщение (Regular flights will resume between Kenya and Israel). [Мир в заголовках // «Русский репортер», 2013]


Завершать/завершить means “to complete,” “to finish.” It is followed by a noun and sounds a bit formal.

  • Проект завершат к концу года (The project will be completed by the end of the year).

The passive equivalent is завершиться.

  • В Москве завершился чемпионат Европы по фехтованию (The European Fencing Championships finished in Moscow). [Галина Подкопаева. Московская ремиссия. Чемпионат Европы закончился, чемпионата мира может и не быть (2002) // «Известия», 2002.07.10]


Заканчивать/закончить mean to end, to finish. It can be followed by either a noun or a verb.

  • Мы закончили строительство дома (We have finished building the house).
  • Сегодня бабушка решила наконец закончить вязать носки для папы (Today grandma finally decided to finish knitting socks for my father). [Марк Сергеев. Волшебная галоша, или Необыкновенные приключения Вадима Смирнова, его лучшего друга Паши Кашкина и 33 невидимок из 117-й школы (1971)]

Can you think of any other words that are useful for talking about phases of a process?

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.


  1. Stan Levinson:

    This was a fantastic lesson. SOOOOO helpful. Thanks.

  2. Delia Valente:

    Another one is перестать

    • Maria:

      @Delia Valente Delia, this is a great addition — перестать (for those who don’t know this word — “to stop/give up” + noun/infinitive) is one of the best options for informal speech.

  3. Giovanni Dardino:

    Hi, would be possible to have the titles spoken to learn the pronunciation ?
    Thank You,

    • Maria:

      @Giovanni Dardino Hello Giovanni,

      Thank you for your comment. I will try to include more audio files in this blog. For now, check out Forvo — you can look up and listen to the pronunciation of this and other words. Just copy and paste them into the search bar.

  4. Kjell Nilssön:

    Очень хорошо! Спасибо.