Prefix – “За” In Russian Verbs of Motion

When we are talking about Russian grammar  especially verbs, we will find that one infinitive verb may consisted of conjugations with subjects and which you could see about related information further in conjugation in Russian language, the aspect whether it’s in perfective or imperfective, Russian tenses (past, present or future), with or without prefixes and others. In addition, the verb may be preceded by a prefix and or followed by suffix. A prefix normally adds some element of meaning to the initial verb (and may change its aspect), for example, when added to the verb читать (to read), the prefix пере has the meaning re- and produces the new (perspective) verb, перечитать (to re-read).

There are many prefixes in Russian Verbs such as –за, -в, -во, -вы, -при,- у, -под, -подо, -от, -ото, and –про, -пере, –до,о,об,обо,в, – вс, – вз, – взо, – с, and со. Now, let’s digging up more with the prefix за in Russian verbs of motion.

Prefix за in Russian verbs of motion has basic meaning as drop in; behind and for answering questions куда? (where?) and к кому? (to whom?). Nevertheless, there are still another descriptions related to this kind of prefix.

Prefix за in verbs of motion can be explained as:

1. A short visit to somebody or some place


  • Мы зашли к вам на минутку
    (Mi zashli ke vam na minutku)
    We came to you for a minute

2. Movement performed while on the way somewhere


  • Мы зашли в магазин по дороге домой
    (Mi zashli ve magazin pa darogye damoy)
    We came to (drop into) the shop on the way home
  • Я зашёл за другом (и мы вместе пошли гулять)
    (Ya zashol za drugom (i mi vemeste pashli gulyat))
    I came after my friend (and we went to walk together)

3. Movement behind something


  •  Он зашёл за угол дома
    (On zashol za ugol doma)
    He went around the corner of the house

4. Movement deep into something (inside/upwards/downwards)


  • Зайти далеко в лес
    (Zaiyti dalyeko ve les)
    To walk far into the wood
  • Залезть на дерево
    (Zalezt na dereva)
    To climb a tree
  • Залесть по шкаф
    (Zalezt pa shkaf)
    To get under the cupboard

Prefix за in Russian verbs of motion also has meaning as the starting point of an action and its related to perfective aspect in which you could see on the table below:

Verbs of Motion Meaning in English
Заходить = начать ходить забегать To begin to walk; to pace the room, to begin bustle
Заговорить To begin to speak
Запеть To begin to sing
Зашуметь To begin rustling
Закричать To begin shouting
Замолчать To stop talking; silence
Засмеяться To begin laughing
Заплакать To begin to cry
Заболеть To become ill; get sick
Загрустить To become sad
Заинтеросоваться To become interested
Заработать To begin to work; start working

Those are some explanation about prefix -за in verbs of motion. Obviously, there are still many variations with Russian verbs. But do not worry, if you are still confused with that then you can take step by step to learn Russian language starting from basic common greetings in Russian.

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