Translation:Both the menu and the plate are on the table.
The program wants the most literal translation in this case. So "a menu and a plate are on the table" would be more like меню и тарелка - на столе whereas "both a menu and a plate are on the table" is и меню и тарелка - на столе.
Because of the initial "и" - Russian "и ... и ..." equates to English "both ... and ..." It's a perfectly valid sentence in English without "both", just as it is in Russian without the first "и", but if you leave it out your translation doesn't correspond to the Russian sentence anymore.
I think - and I am just making an educated guess here - is that "menu and plate" are collective nouns, suggesting that there is more than one menu and more than one plate on the table. The Russian is singular, signifying that there is just one menu and one plate. Your sentence is thus ambiguous as to the number of items on the table.
In American English, it has to be declared singular somewhere. That is why the 'a' is needed before menu. I'm sure there is a technical term for this, but I am not sure.
If the course was to go by British or Australian English, than the 'a' would not be needed, but of course this course goes by American English.
Additionally, in English, an article (the or a) is expected. Without the article you're giving the super literal translation.
Apparently it actually is necessary, if the point made above by Theron126 is correct. It's not bad English to leave it out, but it seems that the И..., И... construction in Russian actually means "both". I assume that the Russian would have to be меню и тарелка if you wanted to translated it without the "both".
I was trying to be clever and wrote "Both the menu and the plate are on the desk", since стол is both table and desk (?). I was marked incorrect, however.
Is this just a contextual thing? As in, is it just that you're not likely to find a menu and a plate on a desk, but you would on a table? Or is there another reason why the translation is incorrect?
Why does the sentence start with И, is this necessary when listing things?
It's an idiom which makes the sentence mean "both .... and....". See the comment by Theron126 above.
Technically the direct translation should be "And the menu, and the plate - both are on the table" or at least "the menu and the plate - both are on the table"
Technically, not, actually. It's the same as ни X ни Y being "neither X nor Y". The two words look the same, but aren't the same in this case. They can be considered homonyms.
Um... i dont know if this is a glitch but i literally started with all the words to the question already in their spot. I just clicked check and it got it right... what just happened?!?
English speakers usually say "both the menu and plate are on the table." Only one "the" is necessary when we have numerous items. "The menu, plate, and cup are on the table"
I'm studying Russian not English grammar and the article "a" for menu and plate are as correct as the article "the"
Should "both are on the table, the plate and the menu" be a correct translation?
I clicked on "Both" first and it did not move. I just clicked 'Check' anyway.
"Both" in this context is very stilted English so is not correct unless the Russian is equally stilted.