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I know that проходит is for saying like when you pass by a place, like: я прошла мимо парка, and переходит is for saying when moving one place to the other, like: я перешла в другую аудиторию.

But there are cases when these verbes seem to be the same, when using the preposition через, I think you can say я перешла через улицу but you can't say я прошла через улицу, however one can say я прошла через Мехико and я перешла через Мехико.

What's the deal? what am I understanding wrong? what does those words really mean?

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  • Note that nouns modified by мимо take the genitive case: мимо парка, мимо библиотеки, and so on. – KCd Feb 4 '14 at 23:24
  • я прошла мимо паркА – Ark-kun Feb 5 '14 at 17:24
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Both verbs have the meaning of motion.

Let's look at the following sentences:

(1) Я прошла парк мимо (Or: Я прошла мимо парка)
(2) Я прошла через парк
(3) Я перешла улицу
(4) Я перешла в другую аудиторию

"проходить" has many meanings, but here I will focus only on the two that were illustrated by sentences (1) and (2).

First meaning is "to pass by". In sentences (1), you do not enter the park, you are only passing it by. Foe example:

Я прошла мимо парка, я не знаю, убрали ли там мусор.

Second meaning is "to go through". In sentence (2), you enter the park, go through it and then leave it. You want to use this verb if you want to focus somebody's attention on the fact they you have actually been in the park. For example:

Я прошла через парк, и там было чисто, наверное, весь мусор убрали утром.

"переходить" also has also a whole lot of meanings, and again I only want to focus on two of them (sentences (3) and (4))

The first meaning is "to cross". In sentence (3), you may or may not actually step into the street, what is important here is that you were on one side and ended up on the other side. You might have crossed it by a bridge just as well. It is used with objects that look like lines (a road, a river, a railway, a corridor). You cannot really use word "переходить" with "парк" unless the park is known to be long and narrow, and even then it is questionable.

The second meaning is "to change location by walking". In sentence (4), it means that you have walked from one lecture hall into another one.

For the rest of the meanings of these two verbs, you should probably read the definitions here and here and then ask your teacher further questions. Russian verbs of motion is a huge topic.

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  • 1
    Minor comment: the usual term in English for глаголы движения is verbs of motion rather than verbs of movement. – KCd Feb 4 '14 at 23:22
  • Corrected this. – Olga Feb 5 '14 at 12:00
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The verb перейти can be used with subject. перейти что-то means cross/walk across something. The verb перейти can be used with destination. перейти куда-то means walk/move/relocate somewhere.

The verb пройти roughly meand to finish walking through something and requires some explanation about what you've finished walking through.

пройти мимо парка - to have finished walking along the park (to walk through the near-park zone)

пройти игру - to finish a game (to walk through a game)

пройти вперёд - to walk forward [some distance] (to walk "through" some space)

пройти в дом - to walk into the house (Hard to say, but maybe it can be interpreted as to walk through the house doorway.)

Let's compare пройти в дом и перейти в дом. The meanings are similar, but there is a slight defference. пройти в дом means to go into the house, while перейти в дом means to move to the house [from some other concrete place].

My improvised rule is: You need to decide what matters more - the journey or the start/destination. If the focus is on the start/destination, use перейти. If the focus is on the journey, use пройти.

In the case of "to walk near the park" there is no destination, so you always use пройти.

In the case of "to go to the auditorium" there is destination and you can use either перейти or пройти.

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  • I think that the verb пройти can also change its meaning depending on the object. Compare пройти всю улицу и пройти нужный дом – Olga Feb 6 '14 at 8:13
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I think this separation is better:

Я перешла улицу - cross (here preposition not required)
Я прошла через улицу - go through

If you say "Я перешла через улицу", that's sounds bad like "I crossed street across it". You can use "через" when there is addition, e.g. "Я перешла улицу через пешеходный переход".

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In that particular case you can consider following meaning:

перешла - cross
прошла - pass

Actually you can say Я прошла через улицу. It sounds like I pass trough street.

Main thing is is prefix пере, про.

пере  шла
про   шла

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