What comes to mind when learning Ukrainian verb prefixes? Maybe складно – difficult or even страшно – scary? We come to the rescue with our collection of pictures, grammar explanations, and examples!
Understanding Ukrainian verb prefixes is crucial, given how radically they can change the word’s context of use – slightly altering the definition (вчити – вивчити) or meaning something entirely different from the original stem (їхати – приїхати).
Prefixes are key for learning the perfective verb aspects and future forms – commonly challenging topics for Ukrainian language learners.
Prefix в- (у-)
Let’s start with the easy one! Separately в or у are prepositions, meaning “in.” When adding them as prefixes to verbs, they can mean not only movement inside but also careful action.
How to decide which one to use – в- or у-? Many verbs can use these prefixes interchangeably, like увійти = ввійти, вберегтися = уберегтися while some have only в- – вчитатися.
To check yourself and learn the correct word and prefix combinations, use websites like СловникUA.
When to choose what – в vs. у, з vs. із? Our popular article on euphony in Ukrainian covered it – be sure to check it out!
More insights on prefix в- (у-)? Take your notebook and hit play below to listen to ULP Episode 86!
Have you heard about Zelenskyy’s phrase, “Вийди звідси, розбійнику” (“Get out of here, bandit”)? It may be the most famous usage of the Ukrainian prefix ви– in mass culture.
As a separate word, ви is a pronoun (formal or plural “you”), but with a verb, it usually denotes full action or moving outwards.
For more explanations, listen now or save ULP Episode 81 for later:
Prefix від- (віді-)
Here comes the prefix with so many meanings that you could write a novel! It has many, often opposing, meanings – decreasing, canceling, opening, or moving something.
❗️ For easier learning, you can memorize one meaning with an example at a time, slowly adding more for future study sessions.
Click play on ULP Episode 84 for more learning!
This prefix is more straightforward, mostly meaning achieving results of adding something.
❗️ Note that до- with reflexive verbs denotes a negative result.
Everything you wanted to know about the verb prefix до– is in Episode 83:
Prefix з-, с-, зі-
In most examples, these prefixes mean completed actions or results. But how to use them correctly?
- з- is the most common prefix in this category. You can encounter it before most consonants and vowels;
- с- appears before certain voiceless oral consonants – к, ф, п, т, and х (for easier memorization, learn the phrase “Кафе «Птах»”);
- зі- is used before verbs beginning with two or three consonants (e.g., грати – зіграти, йти – зійти).
Find out more with ULP Episode 88!
As a preposition, за- can mean behind, beyond, or after, but with verbs, it has a whole collection of meanings that elevates the speaking to a new level!
More theory and practice in ULP Episode 89!
This prefix is popular for forming the perfective verb aspect (e.g., вчити – навчити), and its meaning ranges from completed action to change of state.
Check out Episode 89, listed above!
Prefix об- (обі-)
The prefix об– has various kinds of movements and actions behind its meaning, often connected with traveling.
ULP Episode 84 will share many insights on this Ukrainian verb prefix with you!
Another verb prefix with many meanings, пере– denotes repeated actions, movements across or to another place, or something exceeding.
Do you feel you need to review everything and put everything “into shelves” – розкласти все по поличках? Then click play on Episode 81 below!
Separately під– is a preposition, translated as “under.” Before a verb, it can mean a whole bunch of stuff – to lift, underline, or even overhear something.
Enjoy vocabulary and grammar explanations around this topic in ULP Episode 83:
The prefix по- plays an important role in both imperfective and perfective verb aspects. In imperfective verbs, it shows repetitive action and also turns some verbs into perfective.
Listen to more insights on the verb prefix по- in ULP Episode 82:
To denote an arrival, adding, or owning something, при– will come in useful.
To learn more, listen to Episode 82, mentioned above!
You can use про separately as a preposition (meaning “about”) or with other verbs (hopefully, the verb проспати will not be too relatable 😅).
Не пройдіть повз Епізод 87! – Do not walk past Episode 87 😉
Prefix роз- (розі-)
Last but not least – the prefix роз-! You can use it with a bunch of stuff – for cutting cakes, throwing things around, or storytelling.
Find out more in our Episode 87!
We hope you are not afraid of Ukrainian prefixes anymore! To practice more Ukrainian grammar, check out our signature audio courses:
Learning Ukrainian and looking for great resources? Check out our list of the 1000 most common words in Ukrainian with interactive flashcards. You can also learn Ukrainian step by step wherever you are with our free Ukrainian Lessons Podcast.