Russian Verbs of Motion | A Simple Guide to ‘To Go’ and More

Russian verbs of motion

Russian verbs of motion often have a variety of meanings, especially when combined with prefixes. This can be a headache for Russian beginners. Have you ever wondered why the verb “to arrive” and “to enter” look so similar in Russian?

In this article, we’ll learn some of the most frequent verbs of motion in Russian. We’ll start with the most basic “to go” verbs and then show you how to form more motion verbs in Russian by adding prefixes before them.

The 6 root verbs of “to go” in Russian

First, simply the verb “to go” has 6 correspondents in Russian. They can be

  • идти / ходить – пойти: to go on foot
  • ехать / ездить – поехать: to travel by transport

Imperfective vs Perfective verbs

If you have read our previous article on Russian verbs you’ll know Russian verbs go in pairs: imperfective and perfective verbs.

Imperfective verbs are used to describe progress or habit. It’s often used after time or frequency adverbs like часто, всегда, редко, когда.

Perfective verbs are used to describe an action that is completed. It’s quite like the perfect tense (have done) in English.

For the “to go” verb, пойти and поехать are perfective verbs. Идти, ходить, ехать, ездить are imperfective verbs. For example:

Я ходила в магазин каждый день. - I used to go to the store every day.

Ты уже поехала на работу? - Have you already gone to work?

Пойдем пешком! - Let's go on foot!

Determinate vs indeterminate verbs

Both “идти” and “ходить” (as well as “ехать” and “ездить”) are imperfective verbs in Russian, but they are used in slightly different contexts considering directionality and repetition of the action.

The verb “идти” (or “ехать” for vehicles) is used to describe motion in one specific direction, or for a single, ongoing event. It’s a determinate verb that describes going towards a specific destination. It can be translated as “going” in English.

For example, “Я иду в школу” means “I am going to school.”

On the other hand, “ходить” (or “ездить” for vehicles) is used to express the idea of going to different places, going back and forth, or a recurring event. It’s an indeterminate verb that indicates a regular or repeated action. It is often translated as “to go”.

For example, “Я хожу в школу каждый день” means “I go to school every day.”

Russian verbs of motion conjugation

Now let’s see how to conjugate these 6 motion verbs of “to go” in Russian.

🚶‍♀️to go on foot идти ходить пойти
я иду хожу пойду
ты идёшь ходишь пойдёшь
он / она идёт ходит пойдёт
мы идём ходим пойдём
вы идёте ходите пойдёте
они идут ходят пойдут
past шёл / шла / шли ходил(а/о/и) пошёл / пошла / пошли
future Будет идти Будет ходить пойти
imperative иди(те) ходи(те) пойди(те)


🚗 to travel by transport ездить ехать поехать
я езжу еду поеду
ты ездишь едешь поедешь
он / она ездит едет поедет
мы ездим едем поедем
вы ездите едете поедете
они ездят едут поедут
past ездил(а/о/и) ехал(а/о/и) поехал(а/о/и)
future Будет ездить Будет ехать поехать
imperative езди(те) езжай(те) поезжай(те)

Prepositions that come after ‘to go’ verbs in Russian

In Russian, prepositions are used after motion verbs to indicate a direction, like “to” and “from” in English. When moving towards a place, use ‘в’, ‘на’, or ‘к’. To express movement away from a place, use ‘из’, ‘с’, or ‘от’.

But why use 6 prepositions when there are only two in English? The answer lies in the place that comes after the prepositions.

  • в – из + enclosed space

‘в’ (into) is used when heading towards an enclosed space and is paired with ‘из’ (from) to express movement away from such places. For example:

Я иду в магазин - I am going to the shop

Я иду из магазина - I am coming from the shop’.
  • на – с + open air, flat space or event

‘на’ (onto) is used when going towards an open or flat surface. Conversely, ‘с’ (off) indicates movement away from such places. For example:

Я иду на площадь - I am going to the square

Я иду с площади - I am coming from the square.
  • к – от + someone

Lastly, ‘к’ (to/towards) indicates movement towards someone or something, while ‘от’ (from/away) shows moving away. For example:

Я иду к другу - I am going to a friend

Я иду от друга - I am coming from a friend


Common prefixes to form more verbs of motion

Now we’ve leared the basics of Russian verbs of motion and how to use prepositions after them. In this part, we’ll see some prefixes that often comes before the root verbs to form new verbs of motion.

  • при – to arrive, to come
  • у – to leave, to go away
  • в – to go in, to enter
  • вы – to go out
  • за – to stop by
  • от – to move away
  • до – reach, as far as
  • про – up to, go through, go across
  • об – around

Combine these prefixes with the verb roots below to form different verbs of motion in Russian.

on foot: –ходить (imperfective) –йти (perfective)

by transport: –езжать (imperfective) –ехать (perfective)

For example:

Приходить – to arrive on foot (imperfective)

Прийти – to arrive on foot (perfective)

Въезжать – to enter by transport (imperfective)

Въехать – to enter by transport (perfective)

Here are some example sentences:

Сегодня вечером я туда приду. - I will come there tonight.

Теперь уходи. - Now go away.

Каждый день я захожу в магазин по дороге домой. - Every day I stop by the store on my way home.

Он выходит из кафе и идет в парк. - He goes out the cafe and goes to the park.

Она приехала в Москву вчера. - She arrived in Moscow yesterday.

Мы уехали из Петербурга рано утром. - We left Saint Petersburg early in the morning.

Я прохожу 6000 шагов каждый день. - I go 6000 steps every day.

Russian verbs of motion table

  • бежать — бегать – to run
  • лететь — летать – to fly
  • плыть — плавать – to swim
  • нести — носить- to carry/bring
  • нестись — носиться- to fly/run (to travel fast)
  • вести — водить – to drive
  • везти — возить – to carry/take (someone)
  • лезть — лазить/лазать – to climb/push in/get involved
  • брести — бродить – to wander/walk
  • гнать — гонять – to chase/drive


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