As a speaker of British English, I think "wash" is a much better translation than "clean" here. I think we talk about cleaning things rather than washing them, we are using less water or none. I wash the dishes, but I clean the table before setting it. I wash most of my clothes in the washing machine, but I take my coat to the drycleaner's to be cleaned. I wash or clean the floor. I clean the carpet, but I might wash a small rug in the washing machine.
Well, the use is different in English and Russian anyway.
- мыть is used for washing/cleaning using water or wet cloth. Wiping sometimes works too (you can use протереть or вытереть if you want to be specific, like, wiping glasses or a table clean). The verb is also used for washing hands.
- стирать is used for washing clothing
- чистить is used for cleaning without water, for dry cleaning. Used with shoes, for example (if you do not use water and a piece of cloth). Dry cleaning using chemicals, which are specialised organic solvents, is «химчистка» («химическая чистка»). «Чистить» is also used in the meaning of "to peel" (potatoes, apples, carrots etc.)
As you can see, the meanings overlap but the match is far from perfect. For example, you never "clean" a table in Russian (unless you do it by using a dry brush instead of a wet rag).
One thing that you should learn is languages as they are... Because in the end, if you lear any language and want something specific, you probabbly will be asking for something too diferent that you 'think is better according to your mother language'. If in russian is wash, learn it as it is... In english you talk however you want, but in another languages, you way of thinking simply will/could be wrong.
In Philippine English, I do not remember any particular order regarding "knives and forks" or "forks and knives". Either of which will do. Also we use "wash" referring to dishes or any kitchen wares. It sounds awkward for us to say "clean the dishes" because mostly we interpret things literally so it would be the same as saying "clean the bedroom" if we use "clean".
It is the exact same in Russian, you just have some options in English. Arguably "Could you wash the dishes?" in Russian, when addressing someone very formally and politely could sound like "Не могли бы вы помыть посуду?", but that's a bit over the top for most situations I think. A better example of that might be if you're approaching a stranger on the street and are asking for directions or time - "Не могли бы вы сказать мне который час сейчас?" for instance.
Just as a comparison to the other answer, I grew up in the midwest and "forks and knives" sounds more natural to me, though "knives and forks" sounds okay too.
Just for fun, if you google the first you get 837,000 hits. For the second, 841,000...almost exactly the same.
However, if you google uncles and aunts, you get 8.7M, but aunts and uncles gets you 31M.
"Could you" means "do you have the time and are you available to clean the forks?" "Do you want" means "do you have the desire to clean the forks". In both languages it is not the same thing. I might be able to clean the forks but I'd rather probably be watching movies or playing games >_>.
Maybe you can wash the knives and forks? Should be accepted. Especially since, without "you" in the original Russian, this is clearly a spoken question. There is nothing wrong with my translation in English and depending on context might be the preferred English statement. I reported it.
If you're adding the word "some" then the Russian translation would be different, the two words would need to be genitive instead.
Usually in these sentence just dropping the "the"s doesn't change the translation, but in this case "Could you wash knives and forks?" sounds a little unnatural and I doubt it would be said in English.
We just do not accept "some"; the sentence does not say несколько, so we do not accept it. Both "the knives and forks" and just "knives and forks" are OK.
Using ножей и вилок, however, is unlikely to be used—partitive usage of Genitive is more common for uncount nouns, and some nouns meaning food or other consumables (pens, paper, trash bags). Cutlery is rarely imagined as such. Well, maybe if you really have a lot of them, mostly dirty, and only need to wash a dozen for the party...
Why could and not can ? Can you wash the knifes and forks - should be right too,or?
English is not my native language, so I don't understand the difference .
Knives and forks is an idiomatic expression. Only the initial article is required and adding a second sounds quite unnatural.
There are many of these idiomatic pairings in English, for example: the soap and water, the rain and snow, the bread and butter, it is an open and shut case.
It is indeed valid and correct. I was just explaining why "the knives and forks" would be the preferred translation in this exercise, and why the second article is unnecessary in this context.
Granted in another exercise, perhaps if I was looking at a set of cutlery where the knives and the forks had different designs, I would use both articles.