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Is there any difference in meaning between "Люблю идти по дороге" and "Люблю проходить по дороге"?

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    Can you maybe say in which context you have seen one of these phrases?
    – Olga
    Dec 16, 2012 at 15:32
  • @Olga - I don't remember where I first came across "Люблю идти по дороге". I guess it was in one of the novels by either Тургенев or Толстой. It was exactly while I was trying to recall the source that it dawned on me that it might have been "Люблю проходить по дороге" instead, and that I didn't know the difference.
    – brilliant
    Dec 16, 2012 at 15:41

3 Answers 3

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Let's look at the phrases:

Люблю идти по этой дороге по вечерам, ни о чём не думая.
Люблю проходить по этой дороге по вечерам, ни о чём не думая.

Here идти and проходить are in the same context. I must admit that both phrases are possible and correct.

The first phrase is general use and does not need further explanation. (Yuri mentioned that it would sound even better with гулять or ходить, but we are talking about the difference of идти and проходить).

The second phrase can be perfect in some additional context. For example: По вечерам на моем длинном пути с работы домой я люблю проходить по этой дороге, ни о чём не думая.

Проходить is usually used when somebody/something goes through a layer, or gate, or some special place during a bigger-scale movement. For example:

Проходить через игольное ушко. 
Проходить по коридору. Проходить коридор.
Проходить по мосту. Проходить мост.
Проходить через тоннель.
Проходить мимо большой березы. Проходить большую березу.
Проходить этот уровень компьютерной игры.

Interesting fact is that the imperfect form (несовершенный вид) проходить corresponds to the perfect form (совершеный вид) пройти i.e. "про-идти". Maybe this was the original prompter for brilliant to ask the question. We can discuss what will be the difference between пройти по этой дороге and проходить по этой дороге. I think it is the implied repetitiveness of the action but it is not what the original question was asking about.

So, in conclusion, to my mind, проходить по дороге implies that the mentioned road (дорога) is a part of a bigger way before and/or after this road.

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  • I think you've nailed it. Thanks. Switching "best answer" to yours, hope Olga does not take offense to that.
    – brilliant
    Dec 17, 2012 at 23:44
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    please, do correct this не о чём не думая. It hurts my eyes :) It should be нИ о чём не думая. And trust me, this correction is substantial.
    – user1278
    Dec 18, 2012 at 3:47
  • Why should I? =)
    – Olga
    Dec 18, 2012 at 7:50
  • @Milla: Thanks! This is what happens when one concentrates on the details - you do not see the bigger things :-)
    – farfareast
    Dec 18, 2012 at 17:18
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If you just wonder about the difference between verbs "идти" and "проходить", it is the following: "идти" means walking, and it often concerns some particular situation, not activity in general; "проходить" means the activity of passing through a place, or a landmark, either some particular situation or activity in general. If you want to refer to the activity of walking in general, you need to use the verb "ходить":

Ты можешь идти? is appropriate if your friend has just fell down hurt his leg, and you are asking if he can walk
Ты можешь ходить? is good when your friend has had an operation after an accident, and you ask whether he will be able to walk again
Ты можешь здесь пройти? is when you are asking if someone can walk through a specific area.

As for the phrases, they both sound strange to me. A Russian would probably say "Я предпочитаю идти по этой дороге", or "По этой дороге я люблю идти", or "я люблю ходить по дорогам", "я люблю проходить по этой дороге". Or use some accentuation.

"люблю идти по дороге" sounds a little weird if you don't put any stress or if you stress "люблю". In this case, it means that you specifically enjoy the activity of walking on some specific road in a certain area, probably on a road that is in front of you right now. You like the walking itself, the feeling of your legs and feet moving. If you stress "по дороге", it means that you like going on the road (and, for instance, not across the field). If you stress "идти", it means that you like walking (and, for example, not driving) down a road.

"люблю проходить по дороге" is even more weird, because the verb suggests that you especially enjoy to walk down a road, because of a scenery, for example. But you don't specify which road it is that you like. If you say "люблю проходить по этой дороге", it would make infinitely more sense.

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  • Didn't know that "люблю проходить по дороге" sounded weird. Okay, what if I change from по дороге to по этой дороге in both cases, will then the difference between those two be still the same?
    – brilliant
    Dec 16, 2012 at 16:10
  • "я люблю идти по этой дороге" is still weird, "я люблю проходить по этой дороге" is much better, but both are possible. The latter means that you like to go down this road, you enjoy something along the road, scenery, memories... The former means that you like to go down the road and there is some specific part of the walking down this road that you like, but I cannot figure out what it could be.
    – Olga
    Dec 16, 2012 at 16:16
  • What if I add even more of the context : "Люблю идти по этой дороге по вечерам, не о чём не думая" and "Люблю проходить по этой дороге по вечерам, не о чём не думая". Will that still be weird?
    – brilliant
    Dec 16, 2012 at 16:21
  • Olga helped a lot with removing some sounding weird from your original question. Now with your changes it is easier to comment. In "проходить" prefix "про-" is kind of equal to English preposition "through", so it emphasizes the transiency of the action: you passed through, maybe noticed something special on the go, and now you are in a different place. When you added more details to your phrase that describe the process of going, the phrase with "проходить" sounds little weird.
    – farfareast
    Dec 16, 2012 at 16:35
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    Olga's explanation is absolutely correct. Just wanted to note that “Я люблю гулять по этой дороге” and “Я люблю ходить по этой дороге” sound much better than “Я люблю идти/проходить по этой дороге” (“гулять” is better than “ходить”) and have a similar meaning.
    – Yury
    Dec 16, 2012 at 17:14
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Правильно: люблю ходить по дороге: люблю ходить по этой дороге на работу, т.к. она более зеленая.

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    Welcome to Russian Language and Usage Beta! Usually we prefer longer and more elaborated answers on short answers. If you can improve your answer by adding detail, context, examples, and backing up with references, this would increase your answer's quality. Poor and/or repetitive answers risk being down-voted and subsequently removed.
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    Dec 18, 2012 at 20:21

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