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Russian Grammar Lesson – The Prefix “B-“

As you get further in your study of Russian, you will get introduced to motion verbs (глаголы движения). You’ll learn that there are numerous prefixes that you need to add to verbs of motion to express how the motion is happening. For example, у- to express that you are leaving a place, при- to express you are arriving, от- to express that you are moving away from something, об- to express you are going around, and a host of other prefixes. However, these prefixes are not only used with motion verbs, but with regular verbs as well. This month’s lesson will focus on the prefix в- and the different uses of it (both with and without motion).

There are three main uses for the prefix в-:

1) Motion into (куда? к кому)

What this means: When you enter/cross over some sort of threshold, we use this prefix в-. Entering a school, an office, entering a place w/ something.

ex: войти/входить, въехать/въезжать, влететь/влетать, ввести/вводить

Она вошла в школу. Машина влетела на большой скорости в стену дома.

2) Directing a motion into (кого?/что? – куда?/к кому)

What this means: The best way to think about this type of motion is in English when we use the preposition “in.” To fill in/to insert, to breath in, to pour into, to invest/to put into/to enclose.

ex: вписать/вписывать, вдохнуть/вдыхать, влить/вливать, вложить/вкладывать

Он влил воду в стакан. Русский олигарх вложил свой деньги в Лондон.

3) Enter into a process (во что? в кого?)

What this means: A good way to think about this use of в- is when you do something with a lot of concentration or very carefully. Or, when you are entering into a long process, such as falling in love or thinking long and hard about something.

ex: всмотреться/всматриваться, вдуматься/вдумываться, вслушаться/вслушиваться, влюбиться/влюбляться

Если хорошо вдуматься, то это задача не очень трудная. Аня влюбилась в Сергея! Марк вслушивается в музыку, чтобы найти новые слова.

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