With verbs such as ходить, плавать, ехать, летать, the fact that they are indeterminate means that they imply movement in many directions without a particular finish line.

However, the verb "to climb" itself has both an indeterminate version (лазить) and a determinate one (лезть).

But, since the act of climbing always happens upward, how come there can be an indeterminate climbing?

I guess there are differences in verb usage. Does лазить imply climbing up many things (лазить по деревьям, for example) while лезть focuses on climbing a particular thing (лезть на дерево)?

  • лазить/лезть also mean crawling on all fours—on flat ground
    – VCH250
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


Three of the four verbs you listed are in their indeterminate forms, ехать isn't though, ездить is the indeterminate form.

Indeterminate doesn't necessarily imply "in many directions", it can also be used to indicate things like doing an action repeatedly, occasionally, continuously without a specific goal.

Also the act of climbing doesn't always happen upward, you can climb down a tree, cliff, etc., after climbing up it, you can climb down a hole, climb out of the window, climb along a ledge...

Your last paragraph is pretty much correct, лазить implies doing an action repeatedly, continuously, or the act of climbing in general such as: Я люблю лазить по деревьям. (We can't say я люблю лезть...)

While лезть means a particular instance with a specific goal.

  • 1
    Thanks. It's all clear now. As for ехать, it was a slip of my tongue.
    – swrutra
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 10:18

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