Categories: "Unprefixed verbs of motion"


by Don  

The verb вести means to guide someone somewhere. It's a unidirectional verb that conjugates like this:

Infinitive вести
Past вёл
Present веду
Future буду вести
будешь вести
будет вести
будем вести
будете вести
будут вести
Imperative веди(те)

Unidirectional verbs have multiple interpretations. The first one is applicable when you spot someone going somewhere with someone else.

— Куда ты идёшь?
— Я веду дочку в школу.
“Where are you going?”
“I'm taking my daughter to school.”

Unidirectional verbs in the present tense also have the meaning of ‘intent in the immediate future’:

— Какие у Ивана планы на вечер?
— Он ведёт гостей из Астрахани на дискотеку.
“What are Ivan's plans for the evenging?”
“He's taking his guests from Astrakhan to a club.”

In the past tense they focus on action in progress at a particular point of time:

— Куда ты шла, когда я тебя увидел возле почты?
— Я вела бабушку к врачу.
“What were you doing yesterday when I saw you near the post office?”
“I was taking my grandmother to the doctor.”


by Don  

There is a subset of verbs in Russian that in the US are sometimes taught as verb triplets instead of pairs. You can find a list of those verbs here, and a rough summary of how those verbs are used here. Among them is the multidirectional verb водить, which conjugates like this:

Infinitive водить
Past водил
Present вожу
Future буду водить
будешь водить
будет водить
будем водить
будете водить
будут водить
Imperative води(те)

We can say that the verb means ‘to lead [someone somewhere by your own power].’ But to be honest we normally translate it as ‘to take’ in English. For instance...

Я вожу дочку в школу каждое утро. I take my daughter to school every day.
Каждый вечер папа водит соседа в кафе. Там играют в шахматы. Every evening dad takes the our neighbor to a cafe where they play chess.

Generally speaking the verb means that you are taking someone somewhere but not using a vehicle to get there. It can also be used if a vehicle is involved but the vehicle is not germane to the discussion. For instance, in the following sentence, the person speaking may live near the Kremlin Armory (so they can walk there with their guests), or they may just live somewhere within the city limits, but the fact that they will take the subway to get to the armory is simply not relevant to the story.

Мы часто водим гостей в Оружейную палату. We often take guests to the Kremlin Armory.

Водить can also mean to lead people around a place (random motion inside a prescribed area). In this meaning the preposition по + the dative case is used. For instance:

Моя сестра — доцент. Она водит посетителей на эксурсии по Третьяковской галерее. My sister is a docent. She takes visitors on excursions around the Tretyakovsky Galery.
Мой брат был эксурсоводом. Он водил туристов по городу. My brother was a tour guide. He used to show people around the city.

In the past tense the verb can also mean to take someone somewhere, and the implication is that they are no longer located at the location you mentioned.

Я вчера водил бабшуку на почту. Yesterday I took grandma to the post office
Я вчера водил своих девушек на престижную дискотеку. Вау, как им там понравилось! Я произвёл на них неизгладимое впечатление. Yesterday I took my ladies to a classy club. Wow, they really liked it! I made a huge impression on them.


by Don  

The determinate verb for “to carry” in Russian is нести:

Infinitive нести
Past нёс
Present несу
Future буду нести
будешь нести
будет нести
будем нести
будете нести
будут нести
Imperative неси(те)

This is a determinate imperfective verb which means it is used to describe motion heading in a single direction. Although it means “to carry,” it is often best translated with variations on ‘take’ and ‘bring’:

— Смотри, вон идёт Боря. Интересно, что это он несёт?
— Кажется, цветы. Сегодня ведь день рождения его сестры.
“Look, there goes Boris. I wonder what he is carrying?”
“Looks like flowers. Today's his sister's birthday, after all.”
— Куда ты несёшь эти книги?
— Обратно в библиотеку.
“Where are you taking those books?”
“Back to the library.”
— Привет, Борь. Ты помнишь, что сегодня мой день рождения? Надеюсь, ты несёшь мне шоколад?
— Ой, нет! Я цветы принёс!
— Почему ты никогда не знаешь, что я хочу?
“Hi, Boris. Do your remember that today's my birthday? I hope you are bringing me chocolate?”
“Oh, no! I brought you flowers!”
“Why don't you ever know what I want?”
Когда я нёс домой продукты, я споткнулся и упал. Яйца разбились и сметана разлилась по тротуару. While I was carrying the groceries home, I slipped and fell. The eggs broke, and the sour cream spilled poured out onto the sidewalk.

Носить (часть вторая)

by Don  

The most generic verb for “to carry” in Russian is носить. Note the consonant mutation in the я form:

Infinitive носить
Past носил
Present ношу
Future буду носить
будешь носить
будет носить
будем носить
будете носить
будут носить
Imperative носи(те)

This is an indeterminate imperfective verb which means it can be used with the preposition по + dative to indicated carrying something here and there, all over the place:

Олечка всё утро носила свою новую куклу во дворе, знакомя её со всеми соседями. All morning long little Olga carried her new doll around the courtyard, introducing her to all the neighbors.
Мой девиз — «Всегда готов!» Я везде ношу с собой швейцарский армейский нож. My motto is “Always be prepared!” I carry a Swiss Army knife with me everywhere I go.

Most indeterminate imperfective verbs can bear the meaning of “go there and back.” Носить is a bit odd in that it really isn't considered good style to use the verb that way. You will find it used conversationally, though, in that sense:

— Где ты был?
— Я носил черновик доклада к профессору. Хотел посоветоваться. Кажется, надо переписывать с нуля.
“Where were you?”
“I took the rough draft of my presentation to my professor's office. I wanted some advice. Looks like I'll have to rewrite it completely.”

Notice that the translation of the last sentence doesn't contain the word “carry” in it. It is often the case that the Russian verbs of carrying (носить, нести, возить, везти, and the dozens of words derived from them) are best translate with “bring” or “take” in English.

Носить can also be used to take something to a particularly place on multiple occasions:

Каждый день почтальон нам носит почту. Every day the mailman brings us mail.
Мама каждый день носит свой обед на работу. Mom takes her lunch to work every day.


by Don  

The most generic perfective verb for travelling by air in Russian is полететь “to fly”:

Infinitive полететь
Past полетел
Present No such thing as
perfective present
in Russian.
Future полечу
Imperative полети(те)

Perfective verbs like полететь have several different uses. The nature of the perfective verb is to put focus on the result of an action, so полететь can mean “to head off somewhere by air and actually arrive there.” Thus it can be used to describe a series of flights, each one complete:

Какая у меня была сумасшедшая неделя! В понедельник я полетел в Киев. Во вторник я полетел в Самару, и потом в четверг я полетел в Новосибирск. What a crazy week I had! On Monday I flew to Kiev. On Tuesday I flew to Samara, and then on Thursday I flew to Novosibirsk.

The verb can also mean “to go and arrive” on a single trip; we see it in that meaning in a headline from Guy Laliberté's recent flight into space. (He is the founder of Cirque du Soleil).

Клоун-миллионер полетел в космос. The millionaire-clown has flown into space.

One last use is a colloquial one. It can also mean “I'm gone,” just as побежал and пошёл can.

— Пашенька, не уходи! Останься ещё хоть на полчаса.
— Нет, Юлeчка, я полетел. Ты же знаешь, что мама не любит, когда я опаздываю.
— Господи, почему я хожу с таким маменькиным сынком, понятия не имею.
“Pavel, don't leave! Just stay another half hour.”
“No, Yuliya, I'm out of here. You know that Mama doesn't like it when I'm late.”
“Lord, why I'm going out with such a Mama's boy I'll never know.”

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