3

How would a native Russian speaker express "She went to work."?

Here are my guesses:

1) Она ходила на работу.

2) Она пошла на работу.

3) Она ходила работать.

4) Она пошла работать.

1
  • This is actually a question about English, not Russian :)
    – C-F
    Mar 31 '16 at 19:59
10

It's она пошла на работу.

Actually, all your phrases are valid, they just mean different things:

Она ходила на работу

This means "she used to go to work", repeatedly.

Она пошла на работу

This means "she went to work", the one your were asking about. This could also mean "she got employed".

Она ходила работать

This one is "she used to go to do some work", again, repeatedly. This means that she was actually working (or intending to), not just come to her working place and report for duty.

Она пошла работать

This might mean "she went to do some work", the single action of one in #3, or "she got employed", same as #2.

2
  • 2
    Couldn't Она ходила на работу also imply that on any given day, she went to work and came home?
    – CocoPop
    Mar 25 '16 at 12:42
  • @CocoPop: it could as well, yes
    – Quassnoi
    Mar 25 '16 at 12:44
9

You know, there is no single "right" translation witout a context. And for a good reason: any real-speech sentence may mean a few different things. So here we have two points.

First, "went" is in indefinite tense, which may denote either one-time action, or repeatable action - there's no exact Russian analogy, so we have to choose by (known) context only.

Second, what a native English speaker may really mean by "go to work"? There could be different subtle nuances here.

In Russian, saying "Она пошла работать" not necessarily means that "she did go" at all, but rather "she is going to start working", and for that reason "she did smth. (or even she's doing that just now)". But the latter does not always mean go/walk/run. It could also be that "she stood up from her bed", or "she got a new job", and so on.

On the other hand, "Она пошла на работу" certainly means in Russian that she went to some distant workplace/office. So you (usually) can't say this if you really mean "she went to the garden to work there".

This stuff is a true headache, and the only way to avoid it is to have some context.

2

Just for fun, "She went to work." can also have a completely different idiomatic use, something along the lines of:

Она приступила к делу.

-1

Она ушла на работу.

Reverse translation is 'she left for work'.

0

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