Translation:I need to slice potatoes for the soup.
This is complicated, because in Russian, some foods are always regarded as singular (mass nouns) and others are treated as usual nouns and decline as either singular or plural. We unfortunately just have to memorize which is which. In the case of картошка, it always declines like a singular noun, whether you are talking about one or more than one potato. Consequently, I believe "potato" should be accepted as an answer as well as potatoes, since we do not know from the question whether the the cook will cut one potato or more than one.
Below is an elaboration with examples of food nouns used differently from a website. The final example below is like картошка:
In Russian, we use some fruit and vegetable names as mass nouns and don't form plural for them:
Салат с луком / капустой / клубникой while the others do form plural:
Салат с огурцами / кабачками / артишоками / помидорами Also, if you ask someone:
Что у тебя в сумке? then the answer:
У меня в сумке огурец / кабачок / баклажан / артишок would unequivocally mean there's exactly one vegetable in the bag, while this answer:
У меня в сумке лук / капуста / клубника may mean any quantity.
I copied all the Russian text at one time and pasted it all into Google Translate, and it gave me the following as a translation of DavidG430 s examples (with some rearrangement, but no changes to the words):
Салат с луком / капустой / клубникой
Salad with onions / cabbage / strawberries
while the others do form plural:
Салат с огурцами / кабачками / артишоками / помидорами
Salad with cucumber / zucchini / artichokes / tomatoes
Also, if you ask someone:
Что у тебя в сумке?
What's in your bag?
then the answer:
У меня в сумке огурец / кабачок / баклажан / артишок
In my bag, a cucumber / zucchini / eggplant / artichoke
would unequivocally mean there's exactly one vegetable in the bag,
while this answer:
У меня в сумке лук / капуста / клубника
I have in my bag onions / cabbage / strawberries
may mean any quantity.
There is a similar usage in English, where we use the singular form to refer to an unspecified mass amount of something. You can see it in the salad example: A salad can contain carrot, tomato, onion, etc. - without specifying the quantity. Even a huge salad prepared for thousands of people in multiple bowls - obviously requiring more than one of each vegetable - could still use the singular form of nouns, although plural would be OK too. There's no strict rule of English grammar on this.
You are right. Most of "food nouns" in russian are mass nouns, like картошка/ картофель ("картофелина" is a singular noun), морковка ("carrot". this one also a normal noun, but used as a mass one), лук (onion) ("луковица" is a singular noun, if you talk about underground part of the onion. "The green" part is a mass noun)
Google translate says that "I need to slice a potato" is Мне надо нарезать картофель
Does that mean that when referring to a single potato you would not use картошка?
No, it's just that "картофель" is considered to be a more "proper" word, while "картошка" is a bit more colloquial, so that's why Google translate defaults to the former. However the quantity of potatoes makes no difference as "картофель" is a mass noun too.
If you really want to count potatoes, there's the word "картофелина". "I need to slice three potatoes" - "Мне нужно нарезать три картофелины".
The correction says надо" is "should" but the Ожегов dictionary says it is the same as "нужно" so that "we must,we need to"would be more exact
English word "must" is like "If I don't do it, I'll die". So it may not be translated on Russian as "must" in this case.
soup in Russian is суп. In Russian we have 6 grammatical cases, and in this sentence we use the genitive case at the end because of the word для(for). So "for soup" will be "для супа".
no, we would use genitive case because when you conjugate this word to be "for soup", it would be для супа. Prepositional case conjugates суп into another form, which would not be correct to say
I'm having trouble with "надо". According to a few websites, it's a preposition in the instrumental case that means "above" or "over". Can someone explain what this words means and how to tell its case? Thank you :)
Yes, it's a form of a preposition "над". But there should be no problems, since they take different cases: the preposition "Над/надо" takes instrumental, the verb "надо" takes dative.
Potatoes wouldn't be "картошки"? The accusative plural for inanimate feminine nouns is the same as the nominative plural.