некуда пойти / идти

Anita hk

Senior Member
Hong Kong Chinese
I found some conflicting examples in my book. So I would ask here. These are from my book:
1. нам не́куда идти́ There is nowhere for us to go.
2. идти́ бы́ло не́куда There was nowhere to go.
3. не́куда пойти́ There is nowhere to go.

1 and 3 are in present tense. 2 is in past tense. But идти́ is used in 1 and 2, while пойти́ is used in 3. Why? I would have thought that an absence of action calls for the use of imperfective, so I expect идти́ in 3 as well, no?

Similar question with 'there is / was no one to talk to', не́ с кем (бы́ло) поговори́ть or говори́ть?
 
  • Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    1 and 3 are in present tense. 2 is in past tense. But идти́ is used in 1 and 2, while пойти́ is used in 3. Why? I would have thought that an absence of action calls for the use of imperfective, so I expect идти́ in 3 as well, no?
    You may as well say,
    3a. Некуда идти.

    As well as you can say "пойти" in 1 and 2.

    There is a subtle difference between идти and пойти.
    "Идти" sounds more general.
    "Пойти" sounds more specific. "Некуда было пойти" - there was nowhere to go in that specific situation. For example, you wanted to go to the movies, but there were any movie theaters in the city.

    Also "некуда идти" sounds more depressive.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Verbs of movement are particularly context-sensitive in Russian.

    "Некуда пойти" is, essentially, "no place to visit" (cf. "пойти в гости", "пойти в кино"). "Некуда идти", on the other hand, is simply "nowhere to go".

    "Некуда пойти" also often attaches an infinitive of purpose, which then actually takes the main semantic load in the phrase ("некуда пойти отдохнуть", "некуда пойти выпить", "некуда пойти погулять" etc.).
     
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    Anita hk

    Senior Member
    Hong Kong Chinese
    Thanks Vronsky and Awwal12. I have read the chapter on motion verbs and it gave me a big headache. I have so many questions that I can't even start to formulate them... But at least in this example, you two have given me a good explanation.

    So, in 'there is no one to talk to', не́ с кем поговори́ть will mean there is no one to talk to about a specific subject, and using говори́ть will imply I just want to chat with someone, but there is nobody, is this correct?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    I have read the chapter on motion verbs and it gave me a big headache. I have so many questions that I can't even start to formulate them...
    This subject has been discussed at the forum many times, you can start with the search here.


    So, in 'there is no one to talk to', не́ с кем поговори́ть will mean there is no one to talk to about a specific subject, and using говори́ть will imply I just want to chat with someone, but there is nobody, is this correct?
    Not always.
    Я живу одна, даже поговорить не с кем. There is nothing specific. Говорить in this case would not work.
    В этом отделе все в отпуске, говорить там сейчас не с кем. In the context it may mean there is nobody to talk about smth specific.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So, in 'there is no one to talk to', не́ с кем поговори́ть will mean there is no one to talk to about a specific subject
    Not necessary. Поговори́ть may mean both "to have a chat" and "to talk (about something specific)". However, "говорить" seem to lack the first meaning.
     
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