2

So there was this exercise in our textbook asking us to translate the phrase:

"Could you please tell me how to get to the institute by metro"

After a while I came up with

скажите, пожалуйста, как проехать в институт на метро?

which seems to be fine, but I also found this alternative translation:

скажите, пожалуйста, как доехать до института на метро?

and it left me wondering about the interchangeability of these verbs. Are they really interchangeable in this case? Which variant is more likely to used in everyday speech?

6

"Проехать в" and "Доехать до" are largely interchangeable.

However, "проехать в" literally means "get through to", so it is implied that destination's location is likely known, but the path to it is unclear. "Доехать до" means "get to", and the location is relatively distant.

"Как доехать до Петербурга" would mean "How to get to Petersburg" from a distant location (like Moscow). "Как проехать в Петербург" would mean the same, but from a much closer place, like a suburb Peterhof.

2

Despite it's safe to use either expression to make your needs understood, there is a difference. The version доехать до (to get to) is universal and is suitable for any situation, including the expected changing types of transport in that process. The version проехать в/к is more specific and is typically about the route - it's for a 'topological' question, e. g. if you're asking it with a metro map in your hands (or if you're driving a car). However, if you don't have a map before you both and are expecting to hear which trains to take and where to switch lines, it's about general getting to that place, and the version доехать would sound more natural.

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