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  5. "Я хочу постирать это платье."

"Я хочу постирать это платье."

Translation:I want to wash this dress.

December 12, 2016



Can помыть be used here?


We usually use стирать when speaking about clothes. If you say помыть платье you would be understood, but that sounds strange.


I have just found out in the Russian Oxford dictionary that стирать has 2 perfective aspects!!: выстирать and постирать How in the world is this possible?? Could a Russian native speaker answer this question?? PLEASE!


стирать is an imperfective verb. It does not have a perfective aspect.

What it can have is a perfective counterpart—a perfective verb with generally the same meaning. It is, actually, quite simple for стирать because постирать and выстирать mean the same in this context, the latter sounding sort of bookish.

Постирать can also mean just doing the action (without the necessary implication "to make clean through washing"). I do not hear выстирать that often IRL. It is even worse with гла́дить ("to iron"): though, the dictionaries suggest вы́гладить, the de facto perfective counterpart you'll hear is погла́дить.

Usually a perfective counterpart is a prefixed verb. Similarly to how English makes phrasal verbs ("keep up", "go on", "come about"), Russian attaches prefixes to verbs. Each prefix has a number of general meanings associated with it: they add different shades to a verb. What generally happens is that one of the meanings of the prefix overlaps the meaning of the base verb, so that the resulting verb means more or less the same.

It also means that some verbs can have more than one perfective partner depending on the meaning. ЕСТЬ "to eat" is a good example, as it has two perfective counterparts from an English speaker's perspective:

  • consuming a thing: есть→съесть: Я съёл яблоко.
  • eating as having a meal, replenishig your energy: есть→поесть: Я уже поел.


Excellent explanation, as usual. Thank you so much!


Vestiges of the same system exist in Spanish. Compare tener with mantener, sostener, retener, detener, etc. The system was productive (could create new forms) in Latin, but Spanish inherits the words just as vocabulary items.


Yes, there can be several perfective aspects to the verb and they have different meaning depending on the prefix used. "Постирать" means "to wash [clothes]", "выстирать" means "to wash [clothes] thoroughly". Actually I can make up as many forms as there are prefixes in the laguage, some of them would make sense some less so. "Застирать", "отстирать", "достирать", "перестирать" and so on...


Thank you so much for explaining these "details". The same goes for Shady_arc. Both of you are excellent people who want to help other people. Both of you are very generous with your knowledge. I have to conclude that the "prefix" is esential to understand what the verb means. Shady_arc made a comparison with phrasal verbs which could be a good approximation at what happens in Russian. My native tongue is Spanish and we don't have phrasal verbs so even when I learned English long time ago I was amazed at the number of phrasal verbs that English has. Now to be sincere with you, Russian sets a record by the number of complications it has. I am referring to the Aspects issue. Do you realize that each verb that I learn as Imperfective Aspect is accompanied by a second verb which is the Perfective Aspect and to make things worse they don't even need to be related. The memory that you need to learn Russian is bigger than an elephant's memory. No doubt about.


So, "I want to launder this dress"


I read the explanations above but still can't understand the difference between стирать and постирать. Also ждать and подождать a couple of sentences earlier, and many others. My Russian- speaking husband and mother-in-law are useless. "You have to feel it" they say eyeroll


As a student of Russian, I'll try answering.
1) I only want to do it once - not every summer, or always.
2) I am (presumably) only interested in the result - not the process, but having it done.

One possible test, which I realize is probably imperfect (sorry for that), is to try switching to the progressive and see if it still remotely makes sense: "I want to be washing this dress." Um, say what??


I didn't know Bill Clinton spoke Russian!

(Sorry, is that a tasteless joke?)


Influenced, I guess, by the Spanish word for silver, I was tempted to translate this as "I want to launder this money." Treasury departments around the world would be nervous about what DL considers useful phrases!


Clean vs wash? Clean should be acceptable here


As a native speaker of American English, I would never say "I'm going to clean my clothes." I might describe them as "clean clothes" but I always "wash" clothes.

  • 1334

Я хочу постирать это платье


The male voice sample for this sentence pronounced "постирать" wrong, with the stress on О, whereas it's on А.

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