I know that essentially переделывать/переделать means to redo something, or even convert something into something else, yet more and more in conversation I hear it used as if it were an alternate perfective form of simple делать.

For example, a friend on Skype said:

Дело в том, что я пытаюсь тут кое-какие дела переделать перед тем, как уедем.

I took this to mean that he is trying to get some things done before leaving town. Is this accurate? Or is there another meaning I'm not sussing?

  • You need to write every definition down—that is, use multiple dictionaries (викисловарь, Lingvo, paper dictionary) to get the best understanding of a verb. Every source has something a bit different, and if you combine them all, and just learn all the variations you won't have such problems :) Th meaning "to do many things" is in there, guaranteed. – VCH250 Jan 4 '16 at 10:46

Yes, that's (almost) right. Переделать (or even Попеределать) is a colloquial way of saying to get all (or many) things done. Переделать - это....

Note also usage of "пытаюсь" and "кое-какие". This means "I'm trying / struggling to" and "some / I'm not going to give you any more details".

That's the whole thing really means "I've got some problems, but you shouldn't take that into account".

UPD. Well, that explanation probably gives little compared to just "I'm trying to" and "some business", but it's a hint of how to crack seemingly awkward construction some many things (i.e. some = irrelevant for you; many = worse than I expect).

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