Category: "Dolgo"


by Don  

The next generic verb of motion is идти. Note especially its irregular past tense forms.

to go
Infinitive идти
Past шёл
Present иду
Future буду идти
будешь идти
будет идти
будем идти
будете идти
будут идти
Imperative иди(те)

Идти is more specialized than ходить in that it always talks about motion in progress toward a particular place. Because of that “in progress” bit, we can often translate it as “heading to” or “on the way to”:

— Куда ты идёшь? “Where are you going?
— Иду в библиотеку. “I'm going to the library.”
“I'm on my way to the library.”
“I'm heading to the library.”

Although adverbs of frequency and phrases of frequency (like часто and каждый день) usually trigger an indeterminate verb, if the situation describes something that happens regularly on the way to a place, then you use the determinate verb идти:

Каждое утро, когда я шёл мимо газетного киоска, Нина Петровна здоровалась со мной. Every morning, when I passed by the newspaper stand, Nina Petrovna said ‘hello’ to me.
Когда я иду в библиотеку, по пути я всегда покупаю мороженое у Лены. Whenеver I go to the library, I always by ice cream from Lena on the way.
Когда ты будешь идти по улице Плеханова, ты увидишь справа электростанцию. When you walk down Plekhanov street, you will spot a power plant on the right.

One of the curious uses of determinate verbs is that they can be used to say how long it takes to get to a place. From the English-speaking point of view, that is rather odd. After all, getting to the place implies a completed action, so we should use a perfective verb, right? But from the Russian point of view in these sentences they are indicating how long the process takes, so the imperfective works:

Я шёл до института двадцать минут. It took me twenty minutes to get to the institute.
Как долго будем идти от дома до почты? How long will it take us to get to the post office from home?
— Долго идти от школы до парка?
— Нет, недолго, всего минут десять.
“Does it take long to get from the school from the park?”
“No, not too long, only about ten minutes.”


by Don  

The word долго means “for a long time,” but it's not the same as давно. Now here is a subtle bit. If an activity has been going on for a long time, but you don't really think of it in terms of starting “a long time ago,” then you use долго instead of давно:

Мы с братом долго говорили о его новой квартире. My brother and I talked about his new apartment for a long time.
Мы будем долго работать в Архангельске. We are going to be working in Arkhangelsk for a long time.
Приходится сегодня вечером долго учиться. Завтра будет экзамен, и я абсолютно ничего не знаю. I'll have to study for a long time this evening. Tomorrow is the exam, and I know absolutely nothing.

Some people will sloppily translate a sentence like «Мы долго ехали из Москвы во Владивосток» word for word as “We were riding from Moscow to Vladivostok for a long time,” but it's better to paraphrase the sentence thus: “It took a long time to go from Moscow to Vladivostok.” Other examples:

Мы долго строили дом. It took us a long time to build the house.
Мы долго будем разбираться в этой ситуации. It will take us a long time to figure out this situation.

It's possible to find долго and давно in similar-looking past tense sentences, but their meanings are quite distinct:

Мы давно жили в Москве. We lived in Moscow a long time ago.
Мы долго жили в Москве. We lived in Moscow for a long time.
Витя давно служил на подводной лодке. Victor served on a submarine a long time ago.
Витя долго служил на подводной лодке. Victor served on a submarine for a long time.