I wonder what do constructions like "иди работай" mean? What is the kind of situation that one has in mind when one uses two verbs in imperative next to each other?

More precisely, is there any difference in meaning or usage between these three cases:

  1. two verbs in imperative: Иди работай!
  2. an imperative with an infinitive: Иди работать!
  3. two coordinated imperative verbs: Иди и работай!

I am trying to understand, whether 2. or 3. is closer to 1. In other words, is 1. the result of omitting the conjunction or is it some kind of unusual construction in the Russian language.

  • First case Is incorrect. There must be "Иди, работай!"
    – user634
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 22:50
  • Can you please give the link to the rule (in Rosental or somewhere else)?
    – Olga
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 7:19
  • @Olga, There must be no comma in "иди работай". Это составное глагольное сказуемое. ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/… gramota.ru/book/litnevskaya.php?part5.htm#31202
    – Styopa
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 0:45
  • @Styopa Not really, составное глагольное сказуемое includes an infinitive. Both verbs here are in imperative.
    – Olga
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 9:05

2 Answers 2


There is subtle difference between these phrases and the contexts where they can be used.

1) Иди работай! - means that one person wants another to work right now. The work place still should be somewhere not in the same location where the phrase is said. It needs to involve at least two steps :-). You cannot say it to the person sitting at a next to you table if the work needs to be done at the same table. So it needs to involve some walking but emphasis here is on do work now.

2) Иди работать! - here there is no stress on immediateness. It can be used in the same situation as the first phrase but most likely it can be said to a young adult by his parent. It will be in general meaning "get the job" to provide for yourself - not immediately (maybe next week). It also can be said in context where you expect immediate reaction but the first phrase will sound better in this situation. Иди работать more likely can be said by people who are already working and call to another person to join them while the first phrase is more likely to be said when you send somebody from your to a working place.

3) Иди и работай! - it can be said in the same context as the the first phrase but with even more emphasis on immediateness. It brings picture in my mind that the first phrase was said to a person, and he still does not understand, then the phrase 3) will be shouted to him. It kind of simplifies the grammatical construction, so that if a person does not understand 1) he must understand 3). 3) can also be used in completely different context (without shouting) when you give instructions to somebody to simultaneously be walking and be working. First two phrases cannot mean this.


First, let's analyze all three constructions:

  1. Two consecutive verbs, both in imperative mood.
  2. A verb in imperative mood plus infinitive.
  3. Two verbs in imperative mood separated by and.

Second form is actually a special case of composite predicate (составное сказуемое), which can consist in Russian of verb plus another verb in infinitive. Compare "идти работать"/"успеть долелать" with "иди работать!" and "успей доделать!". Or "люби вкалывать". Or "заканчивай ныть".

With such composite predicates the logical center is the first verb.

See, you can say доделай, вкалывай, but you'll loose the meaning of composite predicate. Ной is even more striking example, since it turns out to be an exact opposite of "заканчивай ныть".

But the verb идти is different. It can be used very similar to that how the verbs go and come are used in english imperatives. This is verb is kind of amplifier of whole imperative construction. Just like in English we can say "Go and buy us some food", we actually mean that on should just buy food. Or "Come find me" which can be translated either like "иди найди меня" or just like "найди меня".

To conclude: Second form mean the same thing as first form and third one. Third form has a subtle pathetic connotation in Russian (Compare "иди и смотри" and "иди смотри"). Coexistence of "imperative + infinitive" and "impertative + imperative" forms is due to ambivalence of "идти" which can be used both as part of composite predicate and as imperative amplifier (the last term is not strictly linguistic).

Also, in some languages there exists so called deferred action imperative (императив отложенного действия), which is expressed, among other forms, as two consecutive imperatives: one for first action and one for action which follows.
As a rule of thumb: if you can insert then, you can use first and third forms. "иди смотри"/"Сначала иди, и потом смотри", "возьми и сделай"/"сначала возьми [соберись, приведи себя в порядок], а потом сделай".

I've never heard term "императив отложенного действия" in context of Russian language, but, as for me, examples you've provided can be considered as some special form imperative "specie".

  • Sorry, what is your answer to the question? 1. , 2, and 3, mean the same thing?
    – Olga
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 6:35
  • @Olga, I've edited answer to be more informative.
    – shabunc
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 9:23

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