"Could you wash the knives and forks?"
Translation:Можете помыть ножи и вилки?
Note on Russian Spelling Rules
The Acusative masculine plural for zero-ending words is -ы, but it is changed to и after ж, so singular нож becomes inanimate accusative plural ножы which is changed to ножи under the spelling rules.
Nominative feminine words ending in -a change their ending to -ы for inanimate accusative plural, but -ы is changed to и after к, so nominative вилка becomes inanimate accusative plural вилкы which is changed to вилки under the spelling rules.
Because it doesn't mean the same thing.
Можешь мыть? means 'Аre you able (allowed) to wash?' The imperfective verb is about the action --> the process. If you break your wrist and have your arm plastered, someone may ask you about it. If you are allergic to water :) or metal, someone may ask you about it. If you didn't know how to do it before and did something else in the kitchen, but now someone sees that you are doing it, they may ask you about it.
Можешь помыть? means 'Can you wash?' The perfective verb is about the end of the action --> the result.
What is more important in English sentence: "Could you wash the knives and forks?" That you will do the job or that you are able to do it?
Possibly вы is in the wrong place. вы можете помыть ножи и вилки? might work. All the lessons so far put the subject before the verb in both questions and declaratory sentences.
However, as I recall in other exercises using можете, Duo omits вы entirely. Why, I don't know. If the exercise comes up again, I'll put вы first and see what happens.
My understanding was that the firs possible answer with negation Вы не можете ... is the corect one. I was under impression that this is the more polite way to ask a question. Which would ( in my understanding of english) be closer to could. While i would (it seems incorectly) understand можете as can, but not the can expressing the ability - as able to - but the can expressing the will to do it.
Learning to type Cyrillic is the easiest thing about leaning Russian that you will have to do. If you can use a keyboard already then it takes only a couple of weeks of committed practice to use a keyboard mapped to the Russian language.
There is nothing else about Russian that you will get down pat in a couple of weeks. In fact, if you practice using Latin script for Russian words you are practicing mispronouncing them in your head.
Using Latin script sometimes makes it impossible for the computer to know if you really understand some words and their functions. The infinitive form is one area that is challenging as you have discovered.
And можете is not past tense. So, my question still stands. I know the difference in English - I'm asking about the Russian. Duo is translating a present tense verb as a past tense, in terms of many languages which would be imperfect or conditional. There may be such a tense in Russian which is actually used - or maybe not, and можете is a multi-purpose verb which can function in a variety of English and other language tenses.
It doesn't look like you know the difference in English. "Could" is not only a past tense, as a present tense it's also a form of courtesy. "Could you pass me the sugar?" is the exact same thing as "Can you pass me the sugar?", but more respectful and polite. It's used especially when you're talking to a stranger or a professor, etc. - the same cases in which вы + the plural form is used in Russian.
Because "ты можете" has wrong conjugation model. It should be "можешь ли ты / ты можешь помыть ножи и вилки?" or "можете ли вы… / вы можете помыть ножи и вилки?" http://www.babla.ru/%D1%81%D0%BF%D1%80%D1%8F%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%8F/%D1%80%D1%83%D1%81%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9/%D0%BC%D0%BE%D1%87%D1%8C