"The dog and the cat are house pets."
Translation:Собака и кошка — домашние животные.
The English that we are translating doesn't give off a general sense at all, at least not to me. If I were speaking generally, I'd opt for "dogs and cats"; this seems rather like there is a particular dog and a particular cat in question and someone is asking whether they're feral.
You are right. In some cases we may speak like that, not usually about dogs and cats in general. For example we might say the liver and the kidney are organs. But we usually say cats and dogs are pets. So apparently in Russian they use singular form for expressing generalizations. I remember previously: курица - это птица. Translation accepted was a hen is a bird, not hens are birds. We could say either, but the hen is a bird would belong in a science book.
Hard-stemmed vs. Soft-stemmed Adjectives
Although this comment addresses two genitive words, the information provided will answer the question posed. I copied and pasted it, because I don't have time to redo the whole answer, but the information is here.
(For what it’s worth, hard-stem adjective end in hard consonants, while soft-stem adjective end in soft consonants. I'm developing tables for these endings, with some examples, but haven't finished that yet.)
I noticed that домашних and животных have different endings (-их vs. -ых) but they are the same case and number (neuter plural - gender is irrelevant to plural adjectives), and домашних is an adjective which modifies животных.
Why don’t they have the same ending? Why the different endings? In an article on adjective endings, I found some tables containing these plural endings:
In comparing these endings to домашних and животных, it seems that each has added "н", to make the endings -них and -ных. If that's the case, that helps explain the hard/soft distinction, because the stem for домашних would then be домаш- (ш is a soft consonant) while the stem for животных would be живот- (т is a hard consonant). It's just that none of the tables I've seen so far list the adjective endings as beginning with "-н".
Anyway, the hard/soft distinction is apparently why they have different endings - I'm pretty sure.
Also: the Russian Spelling Rules apply to adjective endings, so, e.g., -ым might be respelled as -им.
This course is heavy on grammar. I bought the Oxford Russian grammar and verbs which has helped me. I follow a vlogger on youtube called 'bald and bankrupt' who speaks Russian. He advices that you can get around Russia and be understood without obsessing about grammar, and he does, learn as much vocabulary as you can. If you have the stem of the word you will be understood. Keep going though, this course is worth it.
Hello, I just answered that a cat was a domestic pet and was marked wrong and translation given was domestic animal - so OK although I was sure that in earlier lessons the answer was pet. Now we have the dog and the cat are house pets - so is it the domestic bit that causes the problem? So either domestic animal or house pet?
You wouldn't say "domestic pet" in English. The literal translation of the Russian words would be "domestic animal" which can be translated in it's entirety as "pet" or "house pet", or left as "domestic animal". There is no single Russian word that means "pet". Because it is the two words together which mean "pet", you can't leave "domestic" as-is and only translate "animal" to "pet". It's all or nothing.