Готовить (imperfective verb) is for:
- Cooking in general (I never cook rice = Я никогда не готовлю рис); or
- The process of cooking (What are you doing? Cooking. Что ты делаешь? Готовлю).
Приготовить (perfective verb) means make something cooked.
- I need to cook rice = Мне нужно приготовить рис.
- Have you cooked your meal? = Ты приготовил еду?
- Have a rest, I'll cook the dinner. = Отдохни, я приготовлю ужин.
Note that "приготовить", as a perfective verb, cannot be used in present tense. The forms that look similar to those of "готовить" in present tense, for "приготовить" are, in fact, future tense.
- Он готовит = He is cooking.
- Он приготовит = He will cook (have cooked).
Most Russian verbs are in pairs of perfective and imperfective.
I'm dumb, I forgot that готовим is a verb, so obviously ready would be an adjective in Russian готовы! :)
Yes, I got that. I just didn't know what to call the word ready. It isn't really an adjective, it's more... an adverb or something. I corrected the mistake! :)
"ready" is an adjective. The verb приготовить has also a meaning "to get (something) ready" / "to prepare"
Shouldn't it be гото́вый in the singular or гото́вые in the plural? Why is the й/е missing?
"Готовы" is a short (plural) form of the adjective. Sometimes it is preferred to the full form.
So should I regard готовые and Готовы as synonyms? Are Готовы and Готовый pronounced the same? Does the ые -> ы shortening work for any "ый" adjective?
These are not exactly synonyms, rather forms of the same word. They are not pronounced the same, in "готовый" there is a "й" sound at the end.
Short forms are not used for every adjective. I'm not ready to provide you with a rule (being a native speaker, I just know what sounds right). Try searching "short adjectives in Russian" on Google.
It could - as the answer to the question "Что вы там делаете? Еду готовите?" The full answer could be "Нет, мы не готовим, мы просто чай пьём"
Is there a particular problem with translating 'готовим' as 'prepare' in this context? Or is it just more contextually appropriate to say 'cook'.
No problem. Consider this dialog: "Вы готовите внука к школе?" "Нет, мы не готовим. Дети готовят". 'Are you preparing your grandson for school?' 'No, we aren't. Our children /His parents are.'
Does that only mean "No, we do not cook"? Can it also mean "No, we are not cooking"? If not, how would you say "No, we are not cooking"?
It surely can mean “No, we are not cooking, we are dong something else”.
«Нет, мы не готовим». Depending on the situation, this sentence may mean either “We don’t cook” or “We aren’t cooking”. And if you add something like «вот уже два месяца», it will turn into “No, we haven’t been cooking for two months”.