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Before asking my question, let me tell what I know about verbs of motion so far:

-For each verb of motion in English (ex.: to go) there are multiple verbs in Russian;

-Each nuance of motion verbs in Russian depends on the means of locomotion (on foot or by vehicle), and on the direction of movement (determined or undetermined).

-Moreover, there's the usual distinction between perfective and imperfective verbs.

-Furthermore, verbs of motion can be preceded by prefixes denoting destination, such as при- (denoting arrival), вы-, у- (denoting exit) or в- (denoting entry).

-While in each pair of unprefixed verbs of motion (determined and undetermined) both verbs are imperfective, adding a prefix converts both verbs to determined direction, being one perfective and the other imperfective.

So far so good. I believe I know the nuance of meaning of some groups, such as:

  • ходить (undet. imp.), идти (det. imp.), пойти (det. pf.);
  • ездить (undet. imp.), ехать (det. imp.), поехать (det. pf.);
  • бе́гать (undet. imp.), бежа́ть (det. imp.), побежа́ть (det. pf.); etc.

Prefixed verbs have only one imperfective:

  • входить (det. imp.), войти (det. pf.);
  • въезжать (det. imp.), въехать (det. pf.);
  • вбега́ть (det. imp.), вбежа́ть (det. pf.); etc.

Now, let's get into my doubt:

Таска́ть (undet.) / тащи́ть (det.) are a pair of imperfective verbs meaning "to drag". Since they are motion verbs, most likely таскать will remain imperfective when preceded by в-, вы-, при-. Whereas тащить will become the perfective counterpart of the prefixed verb.

However, is there a generic perfective prefix for "тащить", neither denoting entry, nor exit, nor arrival? Like "потащить"?

Likewise, лазить (undet.) / лезть (det.) are the imperfective duo for "to climb". What's the generic perfective prefix for "лезть"?

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Since the prefix по- mostly shows the beginning of the action, you can say it's the most generic meaning comparing to other prefixes. So полезть can be a safe variant like потащить and потаскать.

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Q: most likely таскать will remain imperfective when preceded by в-, вы-, при-. Whereas тащить will become the perfective counterpart of the prefixed verb.

A: With respect to this particular verb the opposite is true, it will be turned into perfective.

With prefix its IMperfective aspect will look like в-/вы-/при-тасК-ИВ-ать

Your statement however does hold true for other motion verbs ходить, летать, бегать, плавать, ползать etc.

  • So таскать, though recognized as a motion verb, appears to be the only one to behave differently.

Q: However, is there a generic perfective prefix for "тащить", neither denoting entry, nor exit, nor arrival? Like "потащить"?

A: Any prefix added to тащить turns it into perfective.

Q: Likewise, лазить (undet.) / лезть (det.) are the imperfective duo for "to climb". What's the generic perfective prefix for "лезть"?

A: Лазить only becomes perfective with the prefixes по-/из-/с- (but this doesn't apply to every motion verb of its type).

In contrast, лезть becomes perfective regardless of the prefix like all motion verbs of its type.

Since prefixes are semantically significant, i guess there're no generic ones, everything hinges on the context.


In some cases of prefix вы- the aspect depends on the meaning signified with a stress

выходИтьimperf - вЫходитьperf
выносИтьimperf - вЫноситьperf
вывозИтьimperf - вЫвозитьperf
(not motion) вычитАтьimperf - вЫчитатьperf

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Потащить - to start drag

Потаскать - to drag a bit around

Оттаскать - to drag around quite enough

Затаскать - to drag around up to changed condition

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  • 1
    Утащить - to drag away from a rightful owner :)
    – Alexander
    Jan 29 '18 at 21:01

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