Categories: "Unprefixed verbs of motion"


by Don  

Ходить is the most generic word in Russian that means “to go.”

to go
Infinitive ходить
Past ходил
Present хожу
Future буду ходить
будешь ходить
будет ходить
будем ходить
будете ходить
будут ходить
Imperative ходи(те)

Because it implies travelling under one's own power (that is, not using some device or animal for transportation), we often translate it “to walk”:

Моей дочке лишь восемь месяцев, а она уже ходит! My daughter is only eight months old, and she is already walking!
Я начал ходить в три года. Это было очень поздно. I started walking when I was three. That was pretty late.
Люди ходят, змеи ползают, а птицы летают. Я хочу быть птицей! People walk. Snakes slither. Birds fly. I want to be a bird!

The verb is also used in sentences where someone regularly goes somewhere.

Дима набожный парень. Он ходит в церковь каждый день. Dima is a pious guy. He goes to church every day.
Два раза в неделю я хожу на рынок за овощами. Twice a week I go to the farmers market for vegetables.

The verb is also used to describe the motion of someone walking around a place with no set goal or direction, e.g. walking around a park for pleasure, walking around the city, or going here and there among shops:

Мы два часа ходили по парку. Воздух был так чист, и солнце так красиво светило, и на душе у нас было легко. We walked around the park for two hours. The air was clean and the sunshine was so pretty that everything in the world seemed right.
— Что вы делали вчера?
— Мы ходили по магазинам на Арбате.
“What did you do yesterday?”
“We shopped on the Arbat.”

Last but not least, the verb is used to indicate a single round-trip in the past. In this usage it implies that the person is no longer at the place mentioned.

Папа ходил в аптеку. Dad went to the pharmacy (and then came back).
— Ты был в библиотеке?
— Нет, я ходил к бабушке.
“Were you at the library?”
“No, I went to Grandma's.”
— Что вы делали вчера?
— Мы ходили в кино.
“What did you do yesterday?”
“We went to the movies.”
— Ты вчера ходила в мавзолей Ленина?
— Ходила.
“Did you go to Lenin's Tomb yesterday?”
“I did.”

Russian verbs of motion have the reputation of being quite difficult. Certainly they take some practice, but if you just calmly, slowly, and methodically work on them, particularly identifying what contexts they are used in as we did here, then you can certainly master them.

Here is a list of the fifteen verbs of motion. They are usually taught in verb triplets, not pairs. If you want to work on these verbs, I suggest Muravyova's “Verbs of Motion in Russian” if you can still get it, and also William Mahota's “Russian Motion Verbs for Intermediate Students.”

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