Verbs of motion

Verbs of motion are verbs that are used to describe a change of location, "moving" from one place to another.


chegh return
ghoS approach
jaH go
leng travel
qet run
yIt walk
ve' travel with purpose
'el enter

The following words are not verbs of motion, as their direct object is not the destination:
lID travel or move a specified or measurable distance or trajectory
tol go through, pass through, pass among
vegh go through (an open door, a tunnel, etc.)
vIH move, be in motion
'aw go through, pass through (matter)


There are special features of verbs of motion, though they have not been used consistently even by Dr. Marc Okrand. For verbs of motion, the destination is used as a direct object and not usually marked with a type 5 noun suffix. So, the prefixes with an object should be used when mentioning the destination. If you are mentioning the origination point, it should appear at the front of the sentence, marked with type 5 noun suffix -vo'. If you are mentioning the location of the travel (either the thing that the subject is using to travel or the general space being travelled through), it should appear at the front of the sentence, marked with -Daq.

There is a major problem that we have many canon examples showing conflicting use of these verbs and especially in how -Daq is used with those verb. Dr. Okrand has explained in an interview(1) that -Daq is optional on the destination when the location is not mentioned. He explained that you should still be able to tell that it is intended as the destination because it would be used with a prefix indicating an object. This still leaves room for ambiguity since this could be interpreted as the destination being a previously mentioned location and the locative indicating the location of travel. All of this can be very confusing for beginners and it can be unclear which way is the "correct" way without access to multiple different resources. See ➞ verbs of motion rant.

The rules for suffixes have also no been applied consistently to all verbs of motion though. The verb ghoS was used with different prefixes from the beginning on.

Combination with locative suffix -Daq

Klingon translation Source
pa'Daq yIjaH Go to the room! TKD
teplIj yIwoH 'ej pa'lIjDaq yIjaH. Pick up your luggage and go to your room. CK
naDevvo' vaS'a'Daq majaHlaH'a'? Can we go to the Great Hall from here? PK
may'Daq jaHDI' SuvwI' juppu'Daj lonbe'. A warror does not abandon his friend when he goes to battle. TKW
ghorgh pa'wIjDaq jIchegh? When can I return to my room? CK

These uses of -Daq are mostly consistent with the usage explained in the HolQeD article(2) as the prefix yI- and the null prefix are appropriate with a third-person singular object. The exceptions are the unambiguously intransitive majaHlaH'a' and jIchegh which are both from the tapes which are known to contain errors.


Typically nuqDaq "where?" is not used to ask for the destination of verbs of motion. Dr. Okrand has said that it is better to use nuq than nuqDaq, but the best option is to instead use a command to request the information: Daq DaDabbogh yIngu' "Identify the place where you live" (3)

Depending of prefixes

Marc Okrand explained:(4)
The prefix makes the difference in meaning. jI- means I'm moving along in someplace. vI- means I'm moving along to someplace.

lupDujHom vIchegh "I return to the shuttle." (5)

See also


1 , 2 : HolQeD, vol. 7 issue 4, December 1998, p. 2-12

3 : Third message to the usenet group of July 19, 1999

4 : HolQeD, vol. 7 issue 4, December 1998, p. 8

5 : Second message to the usenet group of July 19, 1999

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