Russian Movement Verbs 1

Do you struggle learning Russian movement verbs? You’re not alone! I’ve decided to make it my mission this summer to conquer them once and for all!

Where to start?
Last night before going to bed, I decided to announce to my Russian-speaking friends that I would wake up today at 5:30am and just get started reviewing all my notes and materials related to movement verbs. I set up an event on my Facebook page, and then did a Facebook live broadcast to receive messages and comments in real time as I reviewed and asked questions.

Here are my review notes so far:

идти – to go on foot / walk (unidirectional – present continuous)
ходить – to go on foot / walk (multidirectional – present simple)

From my notes from 5 years ago in my Russian lessons at a local language school, I can see that идти is for one direction and one occasion. If I suddenly decide right now to walk to the store to buy some milk because we ran out, I can say: Сейчас я иду в магазин за молоком. If I make it a habit or daily routine of walking to the store to buy milk, I can say: Каждый день я хожу в магазин за молоком.

Where are you going? – Куда ты идёшь?
I’m walking to the university. – Я иду в университет.

How often do you go to the university? Как обычно ты ходишь в университет?
I go every day. – Каждый день я хожу.

Now these same actions can take place in a vehicle or some means of transportation like a train, bus, metro, car or bicycle. In that case, the pair of verbs are the following with the same examples.

ехать – to go by vehicle (unidirectional – present continuous)
ездить – to go by vehicle (multidirectional – present simple)

I’m driving to the store to get some milk. – Сейчас я еду в магазин за молоком.
Every day I drive to the store to get some milk. – Каждый день я езжу в магазин за молоком.

Where are you going? – Куда ты едешь?
I’m driving to the university. – Я еду в университет.

How often do you drive to the university? Как обычно ты ездишь в университет?
I drive every day. – Каждый день я езжу.

Let’s say you want to get some exercise, for example, run, swim, ride a bike, or fly.

бежать – to run (unidirectional – present continuous)
бегать – to run (multidirectional – present simple)

плыть – to swim (unidirectional – present continuous)
плавать – to swim (multidirectional – present simple)

катить(ся) – to ride (unidirectional – present continuous)
катать(ся) – to ride (multidirectional – present simple)

лететь – to fly (unidirectional – present continuous)
летать – to fly (multidirectional – present simple)

Every morning I walk to the park and I run there. – Каждое утро я хожу в парк и бегаю там.
Every day I walk to the river and I swim there. – Каждый день я хожу в реку и плаваю там.
Every day I take my bike to the stadium and I ride there. – Каждый день я езжу на велосипеде на стадион и катаюсь там.
Every winter birds fly south. – Каждую зиму птицы летают на юг.

Here are some verb conjugations in present and past.

My goal this summer is to conquer #Russian movement verbs!

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Here is my 15-minute review session using the  the Russian Sentence Generator that I built 4 years ago.

Here is my review report from that session:

Please review below:
Subject: Verb: Tense: Sentence Type: Incorrect answer: Correct answer:
Ты (Мужской Род)Ехать To ride, drive, go (by vehicle) [Unidirectional definite movement at a precise moment]Настоящее ВремяУтвердительныйТы едишь.Ты едешь.
ОнаХодить To go (by foot), walk [Multidirectional undefined movement]Настоящее ВремяУтвердительныйОна ходет.Она ходит.
ОнаХодить To go (by foot), walk [Multidirectional undefined movement]Настоящее ВремяУтвердительныйОна хожет.Она ходит.
ОниЕздить To ride, drive, go (by vehicle) [Multidirectional undefined movement]Настоящее ВремяУтвердительныйОни ездут.Они ездят.
Я (Женский Род)Ездить To ride, drive, go (by vehicle) [Multidirectional undefined movement]Настоящее ВремяУтвердительныйЯ езду.Я езжу.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017 – Среда, 12 июля 2017 года (to look up the date I checked the Russian TV guide)

Today I went live again on Facebook, but nobody watched. I also tried Periscope.

I kept reviewing идти, ходить, ехать, ездить and reading example sentences.

Inspired by the sentence writing activity in the Add1Challenge, I decided to start including writing 10 sentences per day as part of my routine. I added 10 sentences here on italki.

I did another set of Russian verb conjugation drills (Correct: 25/29=86.21%) with my Russian Sentence Generator and most mistakes were related to typos with period/comma or typing з instead of е. The main mistake to actually review was

Incorrect answer:

Они едят.

Correct answer:

Они едут.

Then I listened to the news on Russian Channel 1.

Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Четверг, 13 июля 2017 года

Today I decided to go live on Instagram

One of my Russian-speaking students who learns English was there and commenting and correcting the words I was saying and the syntax.

I also was practicing writing some more sentences on italki at the beginning of the video.

At the end of the session, I took a video with my webcam of the cellphone screen so that I could keep a record of the comments. I’ll see if I can copy them and turn them into video subtitles later. Instagram Live is great, but keeping the video for posterity requires saving the video on my cellphone, transfering it to my laptop, uploading the 1Gb video to YouTube, going back and looking at the video of the screen comments, copying them down and looking them in the dictionary.

A few new vocabulary words:
to prefer – препочитать
cheesecak – сырники
to save a video – сохранить эфир

As we also talked about our morning commute, I described this image and the view I had on my way to work in the mornings when I used to live in Paris. I’m now thinking of writing in Russian some simple walking guides of my favorite areas in Paris.

More updates to follow…

  • curtf

    Nice summary! It takes time for these to become second nature, but it sounds like you’ve got the underlying logic down.

    An additional nuance you’ll occasionally encounter: since unidirectional verbs are also imperfective, they can express repeated actions (not just a single occasion). This is not so frequent, though, since the context has to make clear you’re talking about only the (repeated) trip in one direction, not the return (even though you do come back!). So you might hear

    Когда еду в какую-нибудь страну, всегда стараюсь выучить несколько фраз на местном языке.
    When I go to some country, I always try to learn a few phrases in the local language.

    The speaker is talking about more than one trip, but it’s only the trip there (not the return) that’s relevant for this context of learning some phrases – so we see unidirectional еду.