by Don  

Поехать is the most generic perfective verb that means “to go by vehicle.” Note especially its irregular future and imperative forms.

to go
Infinitive поехать
Past поехал
Present No such thing as
perfective present
in Russian.
Future поеду
Imperative поезжай(те)

Поехать is more specialized than ездить in that it always talks about motion in one particular direction; since it is perfective it also focuses on some result of the action:

Я поехал на Красную площадь и посмотрел на забальзамированное тело Ленина. I went to Red Square and viewed Lenin's embalmed body.

In that sentence, the result is that I arrived at the square and thus could view the body.

Поехать can also be used to describe each leg of a multileg journey:

Я поехал в Подольск, потом я поехал в Климовск, и потом я поехал в Чехов. I went to Podolsk, then I went to Klimovsk, and then I went to Chekhov. ¹

Of course you can do the same thing in the future tense:

Я поеду в Подольск, потом я поеду в Климовск, и потом я поеду в Чехов. I'll go to Podolsk, then I'll go to Klimovsk, and then I'll go to Chekhov.

Now here's something amusing... let's think about this English dialog:

“Where's Mom?”
“She went to the farmers market.”

Does the second sentence imply that Mom got to the farmers market? No, it doesn't. Here it emphasizes absence from the point of departure while mentioning her intended destination. Likewise in Russian a perfective verb of motion can be used with meaning of “absence from point of departure”:

— Где мама?
— Она поехала на рынок.

The sentence does not say where Mom has necessarily reached the market, just that she is no longer here.

¹ All three of those places are suburbs of Moscow that you can reach on the электричка on the way to Tula.


Comment from: ) [Visitor]

Ваш блог помогает мне учить английский, как ни странно. Спасибо вам большое! :)

02/02/10 @ 20:20
Comment from: Vit [Visitor]

“У него крыша поехала” - He went crazy (informal, mostly funny). I love this one, always teach it to my foreign friends.

01/25/10 @ 08:45
Comment from: Favourite [Visitor]

And of course you remember those famous Gagarin’s words: “Поехали!” :)

01/08/10 @ 11:05

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