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Russian Verbs of Motion

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Russian Verbs of Motion are slightly different to other verbs. As you have seen in our overview of Russian verbs, each verb comes in a pair. A pair that consists of an Imperfective and a Perfective verb, depending on the specific action taking place.

Verbs of motion also have Imperfective and Perfective aspect, as motion can be done to completion, or it can be ongoing. The difference with these verbs is that they come in pairs based on whether the motion is direct (ie. from here to there once) or indirect (eg. going for a walk/run or riding the bus to work every day.)

So, let's make this a little clearer. Verbs of motion come in an Imperfective Pair (one direct, and one indirect.) By adding a prefix to these verbs, you will create a new pair. By adding a prefix to the direct verb, you will create a Perfective verb, and by adding the same prefix to the indirect verb, you will create an Imperfective verb. Thus, the addition of a prefix will create a new verb pair (one Imperfective and one Perfective). The key to learning these verbs is this:

1. Memorise the Imperfective pairs
2. Memorise the prefixes
3. Apply the prefixes to create new verbs that come in Imperfective-Perfective Pairs.

In the following tables you will find a list of the most important verbs of motion, as well as the common prefixes and examples of the verbs they create.

Russian Verbs of Motion

Examples of Verbs of Motion with Prefixes

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