She's definitely not the new Julia Childs if she "tried" cooking potatoes. ;)
Why is картошку = potatoes and not just potato? why is it plural? is it because картошка is an amount and not an object?
Карто́шка is an uncountable mass noun. (Similar to how English treats 'rice'. It's singular, but describes a lot of grains.) If you want to talk about 1 potato, you could use the word карто́шина.
You could use the word карто́фелина. Do not use карто́шина, please :) (I am native russian speaker).
Do not use карто́шина, please :)
It's in the dictionaries. ;)
(I am native russian speaker).
So am I.
Although I do agree карто́фелина is more common, but I think nothing is wrong with карто́шина either. I've suggested карто́шина and not карто́фелина because I think the word карто́фель is not introduced in the course, only карто́шка, so it made sense to use the word related to it.
thanks. Also, does the при- in приготовить change the meaning of the verb? i see it added to a lot of words, but i'm unsure of its function.
This one is tricky... Basically, Russian doesn't have simple and continuous tenses, but instead it has simple and continuous verbs. Well, the correct terms are perfective and imperfective.
Imperfective verbs treat an action as an interval of time which has a start and an end. Perfective verbs treat an action as a point of time.
Готовить is an imperfective verb, it means 'to be cooking'. Приготовить is perfective, it means 'to cook = to get the result of cooking'. She not just tried to be in the process of cooking (она пробовала готовить картошку), she tried to get some results.
The worst part is there're no single pairs. From one imperfective verb you can create many perfectives:
- Она пробовала приготовить картошку. [готовить → приготовить] She tried to cook potatoes (and get some results).
- Она пробовала доготовить картошку. [готовить → доготовить] She tried to finish cooking potatoes (probably she started cooking earlier, or someone started cooking them and she had to finish).
- Она пробовала подготовить картошку. [готовить → подготовить] She tried to prepare the potatoes (before doing something else with them.)
You can also make an imperfective verb out of perfective:
- Она пробовала догота́вливать картошку. [доготовить → догота́вливать] She tried to finish cooking potatoes several times. (I.e. доготовить is one point in time, доготавливать is repeating those points in time.)
Verbs are a big part of the Russian language, and you’ll learn some of those patterns in the course. For now, you can just remember that «она пробовала приготовить» and «она пробовала готовить» mean roughly the same thing.
Шош, Thank you! that was more complicated than i thought. and thanks for all your help in the discussions, it is really useful and motivating ;)
Thanks a lot! That's one of the best explanation I've ever read on perfective / imperfective . Thinking of the verbs as being a way to express a continuous tense makes much more sense to me! Большое спасибо !
I generally understand what you are saying, but my textbook gave me a different example and that confuses me in this exercise: "Я убеждаю его бросить курить, но не могу кбедить." They teach us that trying something is more about the process than the result, so I learned to use imperfect verbs for this (also did it in this task).
Is it a perfective one in this case because there is no statement about the outcome, so you could say that using the verb "trying" already states the obvious result by pointing out how she not actually made it? Would it be a different sentence if I wanted to indicate that she was trying but managed to cook potatoes?
you could say that using the verb "trying" already states the obvious result by pointing out how she not actually made it?
I’d say that the meaning of «пробовать» includes ‘to make one or several attempts’, so in both cases she might have made several attempts.
So, the difference is basically her goal. With «приготовить», she decided ‘I’ll make an attempt or several attempts so that I can successfully cook potatoes’, with «готовить», she decided ‘I’ll make an attempt or several attempts to practice cooking potatoes’.
But what is successfully cooking potatoes, exactly? How do you determine you can successfully cook them? Learning to cook is a never-ending process: you can always learn some new recipes and new tricks. So, the line between ‘I’ve successfully learnt to cook potatoes’ and ‘I’ve practiced cooking potatoes’ is very blurry. You arbitrary decide that something is ‘success’ (and you can re-evaluate that anytime).
In both cases she did exactly the same thing, and the difference lies in very vague shades of meaning.
Would it be a different sentence if I wanted to indicate that she was trying but managed to cook potatoes?
No. I’d say you can still use both. «Она [по]пробовала [при]готовить картошку, и у неё получилось».
Now I even have a philosophical question for the rest of the day "But what is successfully cooking potatoes, exactly?"
"Potato" can also be an uncountable mass noun in English. It tends to depend on how the potatoes are being prepared. We speak of "a dish of mashed potato" rather than "a dish of mashed potatoes".
I only partly agree - I would certainly say "mashed potatoes". Maybe US vs. UK. However potatoes are commonly uncountable when talking about quantities - two cups of potato, not two cups of potatoes.
Apart from the fact that I would never measure potatoes in cups (I think this is a US only unit of measurement) I have only ever heard of a pound/kilo "of potatoes". Whilst still distinct in form, they are treated as countable here, I think.
Now that I think of it, you're right - a kilo of potatoes, definitely. If you measure it in cups, that presumably means chopped, so they're no longer distinct in form, I guess.
If someone asks you what you put in a soup, you would say "potato, carrot, etc.", right?
If you asked what I was PUTTING in a soup (i.e. I am about to make it), I might say "potatoes, carrots etc.". But if you asked me what was IN the soup (that I have made and put on the table in front of you), yes, I would probably say "potato, carrot etc." Soup seems to be a borderline case because it depends on whether you are thinking of what you put in or of the finished result when you are speaking.
As far as I know, the word potato can be uncountable as well.
There's a very weird issue with this one. Translating from Russian to English, "she tried to cook a potato" wasn't accepted, even though the language allows for this interpretation. Even more weird was the fact that it corrected "tried" to "tries."
What is the difference between "Я пытался" and "Я пробовал"? I originally thought the latter was more for sampling, such as "Можно попробовать это мороженое?" And the former was more for ability: "Я пытаюсь читать эту книгу."
Yes, «про́бовать» can be used with a direct object (про́бовать моро́женое, про́бовать суп) while «пыта́ться» can only be used with an infinitive.
When used with an infinitive (пыта́юсь чита́ть / про́бую чита́ть), I think the meaning is very similar, but «пытаться» is associated with putting more energy into an attempt:
- «Про́бую чита́ть» sounds as if you're trying to read a new kind of literature, and you don't know if you're into it, so you want to find out if such books are good for you. You won't put much effort into that: you can probably stop reading if you don't like it.
- «Пыта́юсь чита́ть» sounds as if you're determined to read that book, you know you want to read it, but perhaps you're distracted. You probably put more effort into it, and won't stop so easily as with «про́бую чита́ть»; maybe you'd try again later if you can't read it now.
This is a pretty subtle difference, and in many contexts these words are interchangeable, but I definitely feel there is a difference between these words.