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This question had an answer which touched on what I'm asking, but not enough, and mostly in the imperative sense - "иди работай" vs. "иди работать" vs. "иди и работай".


This question and answer also touched on it closer, but in the realm of "verbs of motion", which to me seem special enough (with their 'determinant-ness) to warrant possibly being a special situation, and not general. Also @Ershov states;

In fact, I can only think of one auxiliary verb in Russian besides быть. It's стать.

which makes me question whether чита́ть (in my following examples) is an auxillary verb - I thought it was (in this situation, i.e. being immediately after a tensed, conjugated verb).

Auxiliary verbs


I was taught that I could say things like,

I like to read. - Мне нра́вится читать.
I will like to read. - Мне бу́ду нра́вится читать.
I did like to read. - Мне был(а) нра́вится читать.
or different even,
I want to repair <object/noun>... - Я хочу́ почини́ть...<object/noun>

where there are two consecutive verbs (tenses do not matter; aspect just to imply a continuous action).

The other day I wrote,

I worked on repairing the transmission. - Я порабо́тал чини́ть переда́чу.

with verbs (in order) in perfective and imperfect aspect. (Because I finished the work [say, yesterday], and I did not accomplish my task)

My tutor said a way (that wasn't wrong) to say what I wanted to say was,

В по́лдень я рабо́тал: чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па.

Between the two different cases of consecutive verbs... what marks the apparent distinction between being able to put them together and not?

Is it a matter of transitivity?

PS. As a matter of consistency and authority, I have started to rely more singularly on one book - Terrence Wade's book - and so bonus imaginary points if there is a reference to this concept (in this book or elsewhere).

  • Your specific example could also be expressed by a prepositional phrase: "Я поработал над починкой передачи" (I believe коробки передач though - it's not like you repair a specific position in transmission) – Viridianus Jul 31 '19 at 11:24
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Between the two different cases of consecutive verbs... what marks the apparent distinction between being able to put them together and not?

The ability of verbs (or any other kind of words) to be together in a certain form in a sentence is called their subcategorization frame.

Transitivity is a special case of subcategorization.

A transitive verb is a verb which can have an argument, but different verbs can, however, have only nouns or only other verbs or either as their arguments; for some of them the arguments are optional and for some they are mandatory; they can have one or two or more arguments etc.

In Russian, verbs with different subcategorization frames are not consistently marked in any special way: you should learn it by heart.

  • the identification of this "concept" is most helpful, along with the link and accompanying references. – nate May 30 '19 at 17:01
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I like to read. - Мне нра́вится читать. I will like to read. - Мне бу́ду нра́вится читать.

Here is a mistake.
[Мне будет] нравится читать.

There is no [Мне буду] in Russian.
Threre is only [Мне будет ...] or [Я буду ...].

I did like to read. - Мне был(а) нра́вится читать.

In contemporary Russian there is no usage of [быть] as tool-verb for the Past.
There was form which is not not used any more, but it is more not like tool-verb it is adverb.
For example:
[Мне бывало нравилось читать.]
If you say that in Russian nowdays they will understand you, but usually this form is pretty book-ish.

[I did like] instead of [I liked] is the same as [I really liked]
[I did like] = [I really liked]

Therefore in Russian it is
[I did like to read.] = [Мне реально нравилось читать.]

I want to repair ... - Я хочу́ почини́ть...

Possible options:
[Я хочу починить.]
[Я буду хотеть починить.]
[Я хотел починить.]

Or based on self-form of the verb.

[Мне хочется починить.]
[Мне будет хотеться починить.]
[Мне хотелось починить.]

I worked on repairing the transmission.
Я порабо́тал чини́ть переда́чу.

You can not use [поработал + verb].

В по́лдень я рабо́тал: чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па.

If your task was to express idea that yesterday you've started to repair, but till now you have not repaired it yet and you need more time to finish your job, then [В по́лдень я рабо́тал: чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па] does not say about that anything.

[:] - is used to explain, to give more detais.

You can say.

[В по́лдень я рабо́тал.]

And I can ask: what exactly did you do?
You can answer:

[Я чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па.]

So, you explained me the deep meaning of what your working was about.

In order to avoid my "investigation" question, you can beforehand to give detais by yourself like this:

[В по́лдень я рабо́тал. Я чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па.]

That is the basic and the full form for this case.
There are 2 ways, how you can "pack" these 2 sentances in Russian language.

#1. Full package.

[В по́лдень я рабо́тал, а именно: я чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па.]

#2. Short version of the full package.

[В по́лдень я рабо́тал: чини́л переда́чу моего́ пика́па.]

In this case #1 is 100% equal to #2 and they both equal just to pair of standalone sentances.
The first says some general information: you we working.
The second one gives more details on what exaclty you were doing - you we doing the repair.

There is no need in Russian language to mix [работал] + [verb].
It just does not make sence.

If your feelings drive you to form stuff like this:

[Я работал чинить передачу.]

Then no, that pattern does not used in Russian, not because it is technically impossible, but just because there is no sence or need in using such a pattern.

In Russian language it is 100% enough to say.

[Я чинил передачу.]

In this case everybody 100% understand, that you were working, just because it is phisically impossible to repair your car and not being under working.

Therefore, if you want to check if you can mix two verbs or you can't just think if the first verb is already included in the second by meaning of action in second verb.

Let's take any random verbs, just from the top of the head.

[плавать] = swim
[дышать] = breathe

Я плаваю дышать. = I swim breathe.
Я буду плавать дышать. = I will swim breathe.
Я плавал дышать. = I swam breathe.

For me this direct mixing sounds crazy both in English and in Russian, but as you can see, technically we can build this stuff.

Let's make it more real.

Я плаваю, дыша. = I swim breathing.
Я буду плавать, дыша. = I will swim breathing.
Я плавал, дыша. = I swam breathing.

In you case

[Я работал, чиня передачу.]

It is possible and correct form in Russian language, but it is too complicated and real simple people try to avoid such complex patters.

- Honey, where were you?
- [Работал. Чинил передачу.]

Or as your teacher recommended.

- Honey, where were you?
- [Работал: чинил передачу.]

(Because I finished the work [say, yesterday], and I did not accomplish my task)

If you want to express idea, that you have started reparing, but you still have a lot of to do and you even do not have idea when exactly you gonna finish.

В полдень я начал чинить передачу моего пикапа.
At noon I started (began) to repair {my car}.

Possible options.

Я начинаю чинить.
Я буду начинать чинить.
Я начал чинить.


Bonus track

[В полдень] = [At noon] = [12:00 a.m.]
[Вчера в полдень] = [Yesterday at noon] = [Yesterday at 12:00 a.m.]
[Днем] = [In the afternoon]
[Вчера днем] = [Yesterday in the afternoon]

In Russian and I guess in English too they do not say
[I repaired my car at noon.]
They might say [I began to repair (started repairing) my car at noon.]

At noon is just a tiny moment in time which is 12 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds.

[I began to repair my car at noon.] = ok
[I began to repair my car in the afternoon.] = ok
[I repaired my car in the afternoon.] = ok
[I repaired my car at noon.] = weird.

Well, it is weird for your case, but there can be situation where this phrase can be ok.
If someone was killed at 12:00 and police officer during investigation might ask you:
Where were you at noon (at 12:00)?

You may answer: [I repaired my car at noon.] = [I repaired my car at 12:00.],
and my coworkers can confirm that, so I have an alibi and therefore I am not the murder.

  • 1
    Wow, thank you for your effort, and you understood what I meant and similar ideas in mind! I am starting to see this 'redundancy' you speak of - '... first verb is already included in the second by meaning of action...'. At least it is nice to know that grammatically some of my nonsense phrases are okay ;) Also, I hadn't thought of using a gerund - sounds nice I think imho: "Я работал, чиня передачу." – nate Jun 13 '19 at 16:49
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Well, just some tips about the usage. Firstly, the combination verb + infinitive can most often be of two types,

1) составное глагольное сказуемое, and

2) verb + infinitive as an adverbial of purpose.

The infinitive appears in two types, imperfective (несовершенного вида) which shows a process, and perfective( совершенного вида)expressing a result, or a finished action.

  1. Let us consider составное глагольное сказуемое. Вспомогательный глагол + основной глагол (инфинитив)

    We usually use инфинитив

    1.1. after so-called phase verbs expressing the beginning, continuation, end of an action: начать, стать, продолжать, кончить,перестать, прекратить.

      начал говорить, 
      продолжал работать, 
      перестал разговаривать, 
      прекратил писать.

    1.2. after modal verbs expressing wish to stop doing something: надоесть, устать, расхотеть, отговорить, передумать, отказываться, бояться,

      отговорил ехать, 
      устал писать, 
      надоело слушать.

    or wish: желать,хотеть, мечтать, намереваться, пытаться, стараться, рассчитывать, ухитриться, спешить,

    1.3 after modal verbs expressing ability, skill: уметь, научиться, привыкнуть, мочь

      научился плавать, 
      умел рисовать.

    Инфинитив совершенного вида is used after verbs with the meaning of result: удасться, успеть, забыть, остаться

      удалось заработать, 
      забыл позвонить.
  1. verb + infinitive as an adverbial of purpose.

    The infinitive can be used after verbs of motion and express purpose.
    пошел (с какой целью?) присесть, 
    лег отдохнуть,
    сел послушать,
    побежал искать (ребенка, лошадь),
    вышел попрощаться (с друзьями),
    выскочил выбросить, 
    приехал погостить.

    The list is not complete, because modality is a wide notion.

  • So it seems to me that my (modified simple English past), 'I worked to repair' - "порабо́тал чини́ть" would fall under "2.verb + infinitive as an adverbial of purpose". Isn't that better than the use of colons? Was my statement correct, but just not constructed in a common manner? – nate May 31 '19 at 5:17
  • 2
    Поработал isn't a veb of motion unfortunately, like пошёл чинить, but your idea can be achieved with сумел починить --managed to repair. A modal verb +perfective infinitive. В полдень я пошел чинить... и сумел отремонтировать – V.V. May 31 '19 at 9:45

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