"Что нам приготовить на обед?"

Translation:What should we cook for lunch?

November 12, 2015



Why doesn't this mean "what are we cooking for lunch?"?

November 12, 2015

[deactivated user]

    This sentence doesn't have a subject (it would use a nominative case, «мы»). Instead, it's a subjectless sentence similar to «что нам на́до пригото́вить на обе́д», but with «на́до» dropped. It can't mean «what are we cooking for lunch?».

    November 12, 2015


    Sorry, could you explain this in a bit more detail? Why is the sentence subjectless? I mean I understand that the 'надо' is implied, but why wouldn't you just use a normal SOV construction instead, like 'что мы приготовим на обед' - is the subjectless version just more idiomatic? And doesn't 'надо' mean need, so would a more literal translation be 'what do we need to make for lunch'? Sorry to bombard you with questions!

    February 26, 2016

    [deactivated user]

      You're asking me, and I feel somehow obligated to answer, but I have absolutely no idea how to answer your question.

      Why this sentence is subjectless? Well, because it is.

      Why don't we use subject—verb contruction to express this kind of meaning? Well, because we don't. That's how Russian works.

      After all, the ideas about dinner are not something we do, it's a discussion of possibilities that exist. Possibilities that exist are not our actions, so it makes perfect sense to use a different construction to discuss dinner ideas (subjectless sentence) and actual action of cooking dinner (with a subject and a verb). I could ask you why you use modal verbs in English instead of the normal subjectless sentences.

      like 'что мы приготовим на обед'

      «Что мы приготовим на обед» means "What will we cook for lunch?". It refers to the action with some certaincy, it's not a discussion of ideas, it's a more specific question.

      And doesn't 'надо' mean need

      This sentence is not 100% identical to «Что нам надо приготовить на обед» (although it is definitely similar), so don't take «надо» too literal. It's just a way to explain the grammar.

      Obviously, «Что нам надо приготовить на обед» is equally grammatical in Russian, and if you wanted to express the 'neccessity', you'd use «надо».

      February 26, 2016


      Okay, thank you. Like you said, I guess this is one of those idioms which is hard to translate exactly. But thank you for explaining so thoroughly.

      February 26, 2016


      Put simply, the literal translation is 'what to cook for lunch for us'? The verb is in the infinitive and ham is not the subject (not sure whether it is accusative or something else)

      August 1, 2018


      Although this is confusing to me also, I like your answer. When I pose this type of question to my wife, a native Russia speaker, her answer is, "Don't try to make it make sense. It will drive you crazy. Just do it. Eventually it will become natural."

      July 13, 2018


      This is super

      April 12, 2017


      Thank you for explaining!

      December 28, 2017


      Большое спасибо! Thank you very much for being so detailed with your explanations. I know writing this down must have taken a lot of time. But I can assure you this helps me and others so much to grasp the internal structure of a foreign language. Пока

      May 27, 2018


      Disclaimer: I don't know Russian, and I don't even know if this answer is right, but I'm going to be applying my knowledge of other languages to help answer your question:

      The sentence does have a subject; the infinitive form of a verb can function as a subject, in this case приготовить. We do this in English:

      "To be at war is the best way of preserving peace." The verb "be" in its infinitive form is the subject of the sentence.

      If you had the sentence "Что приготовить на обед?", this would mean: "What to cook for lunch?" To cook, приготовить, is the subject. (I believe this is a sentence fragment, not sure though).

      нам is the dative for "us," and the dative case is used to express the beneficiary of an action. So "Что нам приготовить на обед?" translates a bit more literally as: "What to cook for lunch, for our benefit?"

      Hope this helps!

      June 16, 2016


      This makes a lot of sense.

      April 15, 2018


      Actually I tried "What is being prepared for us for lunch?" which was rejected... I'm thinking maybe I should report?

      May 18, 2018


      No, it's not correct. Your sentence can be translated in different ways but the Duo's sentence doesn't have that meaning. I personally would go with "что нам готовят на обед?".

      May 18, 2018


      I would first think of it as "What is there for us to cook" and then, in less bookish English, as "What should we cook."

      January 19, 2018


      The sentence has a subject in English, and a verb, and an object. Obviously, it's a highly idiomatic sentence. My translation, which was rejected, was "What are we preparing for lunch?". That is an approximation of "What shall we have..." or "What should we have...." Maybe "What are we going to have..."

      The Russian itself is so vauge - literally "What for us to fix for lunch?" that there are a huge number of possible English translations, unless the Russian actually intends to be shorthand for conditional tense (or what in Italian, Spanish, or French might be some form of conditional or subjunctive imperfect tense).

      When something is so highly idiomatic, it seems like Duo should make a lot more allowances for possible translations. That, or simply not introduce such complicated grammar into the beginning of a beginning language course.

      It makes me wonder how many moderators are teachers in their professions. It doesn't seem like many are, if any. It don't think I've run into such roughly formed pedagogy since having to endure classes taught by graduate student instructors who'd never taught a class before.

      July 19, 2018


      It is subjectless. Can it mean 'what should I cook for lunch' instead of we?

      March 24, 2018


      That would be "Что мне приготовить на обед?".

      March 24, 2018


      thank you, i confused it

      April 27, 2018


      so how would you say in russina "what are we cooking for lunch"? что мы готовить на обед??

      November 13, 2015

      [deactivated user]

        No, «гото́вить» is an inifinitive (to cook). You should use a personal verb form, a 1 person plural is «гото́вим»:

        «Что́ мы гото́вим на обе́д?» 'What are we cooking for lunch?'

        November 13, 2015


        Yes sorry, I forgot to conjugate it, but that's what was on my head. By the way, thank you veyr much szeraja_zhaba, you have helped a lot with my questions!!

        November 13, 2015

        [deactivated user]

          You're welcome! :)

          November 13, 2015


          I do not understand!

          October 19, 2018


          I reported it. Regardless of the Russian grammar, English often uses the present tense to indicate an immediate future. [So "what are we cooking for lunch" is the most common way of saying "what will we be cooking for lunch".]

          January 11, 2016


          I agree. Pragmatically, What shall we make for lunch?, What will we make for lunch?, and What are we making for lunch? carry the same effective meaning here, and are equivalent as far as this exercise should be concerned.

          January 28, 2016


          I'm going to as well. It may not be the exact translation, but it carries the identical meaning.

          May 8, 2016


          "What are we preparing for lunch?" rejected 19 July 2018. Reported.

          July 19, 2018


          Exactly!! It can mean that.

          September 27, 2017


          Is it just my undertrained ear or is the soft consonant at the end of приготовить impossible to make out at normal speed?

          January 16, 2016


          The computer voice is not very good. Listen to it at forvo.com.

          As I understand it, the soft-sign makes things unvoiced, for which the biggest difference is the position of the tongue - pronouncing the consonant with the tongue at the front of the mouth, near the back of the teeth, unlike the way the tongue is drawn back into the mouth for voiced consonants (like "but" in English). The consonant is definitely pronounced, just softer than with a voiced consonant. You can practice by saying "but" normally, then trying to say it while keeping your tongue touching the back of your teeth.

          July 19, 2018


          This is not about consonants being voiced or voiceless. Both d and t have palatalized (soft) versions being voiced or voiceless respectively.

          On the other hand, consonants get voiceless when being at the end of a (separately pronounced) word or a sentence.

          July 30, 2018


          I tried "What has been prepared for us for lunch?" which was rejected and has a very different meaning. I am interested in the reasoning though.

          Since "нам" is in the dative, it carries a "for us" , "to us" sense. If it were "нам надо", then it would be "necessary for us" and it would be clear. But there is no надо in the sentence, so "нам" has to be acting on "приготовить" (this is probably where the mistake in my reasoning lies. But how can I tell that "нам" is related to an implicit "надо" or similar particle and not to "приготовить"?).

          So, this must be asking what is cooked/prepared for us ("нам") for lunch.

          So my new question is: How would this idea be expressed?

          "Что приготовить нам на обед" ? (Word order)

          Or maybe without the infinitive, similar to the idiomatic "Как вас зовут?"

          "Что приготовят нам на обед"

          December 19, 2015


          "What are we preparing for lunch?" is marked as wrong and dispite reading the thread i can't say i see why. Would it be ok to say "What are we to prepare for lunch?"? As this can in no situation be seen us doing anything at the moment - if that indeed is what is the problem with the former.

          March 20, 2016


          Why can't we say "what are we going to make for lunch"? I understand this may not be an appropriate literal translation of "приготовить", but 999/1000 times in English we say "make" food and everyone knows it implies cooking/preparing.

          May 7, 2018


          While "What should we cook for lunch?" is "Что нам приготовить на обед?", "what are we going to make for lunch" is more like "Что мы будем готовить на обед". We can translate "Приготовить" as "make" or as "cook". Both are correct.

          December 20, 2018


          How would you say "What should I cook for lunch"? Like "Что мне приготовить на обед?"

          May 14, 2016


          Why "приготовить" and not "готовит"?

          July 20, 2017


          Приготовить as the perfective indicates a single action. This question assumes that the next lunch, or today's lunch, is the one being prepared. Готовить would convey a meaning of all lunches generally.

          August 14, 2017


          If I wish to say "What has been prepared for us for lunch?", should I say что приготовил (нам/для нас) на обед? as the preparation is completed?

          October 21, 2017


          I put what do we cook for lunch its the same as what SHOULD we cook for lunch

          November 22, 2017


          is there no word for "should" in russian?

          June 24, 2018


          Please could someone tell me why is it на обед and not на обеде? I'm quite confused ^^

          September 8, 2018


          This slightly rarer way to use the preposition на to indicate the purpose or the value of a thing calls for accusative, it's the same на you'll find in:

          • Вот ответ на твой вопрос. -> Here is the answer to your question.
          • На что вы надеялись? -> What were you hoping for?
          • Что можно купить на сто рублей? -> What can one buy with 100 roubles?
          September 8, 2018


          на обед ‧ for lunch ‧ [ на + Accusative Case ]

          на ‧ [ on onto to for - Accusative Case ] ‧ [ on at - Prepositional Case ] ‧ russianlearn.com/grammar/category/table_of_prepositions

          Обе́д ‧ noun declension ‧ [ обе́д - Singular Accusative ] ‧ cooljugator.com/run/обедen.wiktionary.org/wiki/обед

          December 17, 2018


          and why not "for THE lunch"?

          December 4, 2015


          Adding "the" before "lunch" sounds unnatural in English. I ask "What are you making for lunch?" and not "What are you making for the lunch?" The same is true for breakfast and dinner.

          June 23, 2017


          A little more concretely, the word lunch is a very abstract noun that can mean anything from a class of foods to the midday time period with or without a meal. "The" specifies a particular instance but doesn't really work with lunch because lunch is too conceptual, as RyanFedasiuk said. The word "luncheon" has the meaning of a specific event and can take articles.

          August 14, 2017


          From the audio, this sounds more like, Что нам приготовит на обед? "What is he going to cook for us for lunch." Without context, and with poor audio, it's very difficult to be able to hear the ить vs ит, which entirely changes the meaning of the sentence.

          September 29, 2016


          Приготовить means prepare not cook.

          March 29, 2017


          Preparation, in English, is a subset of cooking that does not include heat. Russian doesn't seem to have that limitation. While приготовить does mean "to prepare," it is unnecessarily limiting in English to directly translate it as such when talking about food.

          August 14, 2017


          This sentence means "What to prepare for us for lunch? ", there is no "should" (должен) here, there is no indication that "we are going to prepare", but "someone prepare for us". This is not the first time when duolingo teaches you one thing, then expects another, taken straight from google translate.

          March 31, 2018

          [deactivated user]

            This sentence means "What to prepare for us for lunch? "

            No, it doesn’t.

            «X in dative + verb Y in infinitive?» is a way to ask ‘Should X do Y?’, most commonly X is «мне» or «нам». E.g.:

            • Мне уйти́? — Should I leave?
            • Что ему́ де́лать? — What should he do?
            • Не говори́ мне, что мне де́лать, и я не скажу́ тебе́, куда́ тебе́ пойти́. ‘Don’t tell me what I should do, and I won’t tell you where you should go.’

            This course was created by native speakers and it’s generally quite reliable when it comes to translation accuracy.

            March 31, 2018


            I said, "what are we preparing for lunch" which was rejected. I didn't like "what are we cooking for lunch" because it seemed to me that we might be not be cooking anything for lunch. For example, sandwiches wouldn't be cooked, or would salad.

            June 14, 2018

            [deactivated user]

              In Russian, we say «де́лать бутербро́ды» ‘to make [open] sandwiches’. So, I guess, ‘prepare’ is closer to «де́лать» here.

              However, we still use «гото́вить» for salads. Maybe it’s because salads in Russian cuisine are indeed cooked (e.g. Olivier salad includes boiled potatoes and carrots).

              June 14, 2018


              Yes, I agree. That's the answer I'm seeking here also. Why isn't "to prepare" concidered correct?

              July 13, 2018


              Can the translation also be: What could we cook for lunch?

              October 19, 2018


              Готовить means also to 'prepare', but Duolingo didn't accept it. :-/

              December 13, 2015


              Why is not possible to accept "what do we cook for lunch"?

              December 29, 2017


              Do на and для mean the same?

              February 25, 2018

              [deactivated user]

                No. In most cases, those are not interchangeable.

                «На» is often translated ‘on’ (на столе ‘on the table’).

                «Для» is closer to the English ‘for‘, but it’s not used with the meals.

                The pronouns are tricky because each language uses them slightly differently. You’ll just have to remember that meals are used with «на» and not «для».

                February 27, 2018


                Yet another inconsistency! Why does DL give a definition of " приготовить" as "to prepare" and then not accept it as an answer. Infuriating....

                April 26, 2018

                [deactivated user]

                  Because words across languages don’t have exact correspondences.

                  In the context of food, пригото́вить means ‘to cook’. In other contexts, it means ‘to prepare’.

                  April 26, 2018


                  I see that нам implies something here but I thaught it was можно rather than надо. Therefore I translated it as "What can we make for lunch?" This has similar meaning as "What do we have to cook for lunch?"

                  Could anybody explain me if it is wrong and why if so?

                  July 30, 2018


                  "What do we cook for lunch?" was marked as wrong, is there anything to indicate between the implied "should we" or "do we", or is this just Duo not having all the possible translations?

                  August 20, 2018


                  How come it can't be: What are we making for lunch?

                  September 6, 2018


                  Why is "What are we cooking for lunch? " wrong?

                  September 11, 2018


                  "What are we having for lunch?" Is wrong?

                  September 26, 2018


                  "what do we cook for lunch" and "what should we cook for lunch" is literally the same answer

                  October 2, 2018


                  That should mean "What will we cook for lunch?"

                  October 6, 2018


                  If you only hear it, it could also be: Что нам приготовит на обед? - What is he cooking us for lunch? I don't hear the ь there.

                  October 19, 2018


                  I translated, 'What are we going to cook for lunch' which was wrong. I don't know if this is a Kiwi idiom but to me the two translations mean the same thing. Though we would more commonly say "What are we going to have for lunch?" In both sentences there would be no emphasis on 'are going to'. They are fillers. The point of the sentence is 'what?' and 'we' and 'for lunch'. I'm sorry, I don't know all the grammatical terms for what I am trying to say. Does anyone get what I am trying to point out and do you concur that 'What are we going to cook for lunch?' should be marked as correct? I'm asking not out of a need to be right but a desire to understand! :D

                  October 30, 2018


                  Once again, my question is what it has been before: why are idiomatic exceptions being introduced to what is the equivalent of first semester students in Russian? In most cases those who write competent lesson material, withold the majority of exceptions whenever possible, until the basic rules have been established and beginners are thoroughly familiar with the basics. It's only then that, that exceptions are introduced.

                  November 9, 2018


                  But this is not an exception. These sentences built around the dative case are ubiquitous in Russian and can be a huge obstacle to comprehension early on. It's very useful to get used to their structure as early as possible.

                  November 9, 2018


                  My sentence "What do we make for lunch?" Is marked wrong. But ""What should we cook for lunch?" Is somehow correct, even though THEY BOTH mean the same, EXACT thing in English. Okay, whatever, no explanation, no reason. Getting really tired of DL dual standards

                  November 27, 2018


                  OK, now I correct in second time. But I answerd "What do we cook for lunch? " first time. I'm really confused by translation "should". How this "should" is inside of this sentence??

                  Maybe just because "Что нам" makes "what should we" ??

                  Thank you

                  December 21, 2018


                  What are we having for lunch? Why not?

                  January 11, 2019


                  Could this sentence be interpreted as: "what should I cook for lunch(for us)"?

                  January 12, 2019


                  Do I understand the event as future, that is, it is not happening now and has not already happened. If so why is only "should" accepted, and not will or shall. I put it in your way, though I think you are wrong, for the sake of proceeding.

                  January 30, 2019


                  I wrote what do we make for lunch. I like this better than what should we cook for lunch. Two issues: in English it is not implied one has to cook lunch; should is a different part of speech than what is expressed in a simple present tense Russian phrase. I think yours is incorrect grammatically. I don't think you can attribute incorrect usage of words to a difference in languages. I speak a few languages fluently, and you can't do that in any of them.

                  January 27, 2019


                  Duolingo is full of mistakes. Its a dodgy app

                  April 11, 2019


                  "What are we cooking for lunch?" Not accepted 21 July 2018.

                  July 21, 2018


                  dinner ≠ lunch WTF? Обед где-то между 12:00 и 14:00 почему это "lunch"? "Dinner" теперь ужин. А "supper" отдай врагу? Когда произошла подмена понятий и меня не предупредили?! :)

                  June 24, 2017

                  [deactivated user]

                    «Подмена понятий» произошла в разное время по-разному, но в целом происходила в течении всего двадцатого столетия.

                    Она закончилась не до конца. Английская Википедия (в статье Dinner) говорит, что некоторые люди из рабочего класса в центральной и южной Англии и центральной Шотландии по-прежнему используют dinner в значении ‘обед’. Хотя сейчас они в меньшинстве.

                    В целом изменение значений вызвано тем, что dinner воспринимался как ‘основной приём еды’. Когда-то обед был большим и важным. А когда люди кое-как упихивали еду в своё рабочее расписание, называть такой перекус ‘dinner’ язык не поднимался. Вот dinner и сместился на более позднее время.

                    Вообще, забавно, как слово когда-то значило «завтрак», потом стало значить «обед», а вот теперь — «ужин» :)

                    February 27, 2018
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