13.4 - Verbs of motion (1)

Among the most frequently occurring verbs in written and spoken Ukrainian are «бути» (to be), «мати» (to have), «хотіти» (to want), «робити» (to do) and «жити» (to live). This is hardly surprising, as they reflect the most basic concepts and needs of life.

Another key concept is movement, and the most frequently used verb reflecting this is «іти / йти» (to go on foot) with its compounds «вийти» (go out), «прийти» (come), «пройти» (walk a certain distance, walk through; undergo), its perfective form «піти», and also the form «ходити», which translates as "to walk back and forth, walk around, walk without an aim" etc.

Verbs like «іти» and «ходити» are, unsurprisingly, known as verbs of motion. Both reflect the action of "going on foot", but they differ in the type of walking being done:

  • «іти» suggests going in one direction, with the aim of reaching a goal (unidirectional), e.g.:
Коли Максим ішов до школи, то побачив цуценя. When Maksym was going to school (i.e. on the way to school), he saw a puppy.
  • «ходити» suggests walking around, repeated walking to a place and walking back and forth (multidirectional), e.g.:
Максим десять років ходив до школи. Maksym went to school (i.e. attended school) for ten years.
Вирішивши не піти до школи того дня, Максим ходив вулицями міста. Deciding not to go to school that day, Maksym walked around the city streets.

Like other verbs, verbs of motion have imperfective and perfective aspects. The examples given above are in the imperfective. The perfective of the verbs «іти» and «ходити» are as follows:

  • «піти» suggests completing the action of going in one direction, with the assumption that you got there, e.g.:
Де Максим? Пішов до школи. Where's Maksym? He's gone to school (we assume he arrived).
  • «походити» suggests walking around for a while, then doing something else, e.g.:
Максим походив вулицями, а потім пішов в кіно. Maksym walked the streets for a bit, then went to the cinema.

Among the most frequently used multidirectional compounds of the «іти/ходити» pair of verbs (known as an aspectual pair) include: «приходити», «виходити», «проходити», «переходити», «заходити» «сходити» and «увіходити» («ввіходити»).

To practise recognising and translating various forms of the verb "to go", try Exercise 13.4A.

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala