It rejected "would you help us clean the bathroom". Neither "would" nor "could" nor "can" is literal. Literally, it means "do you help us clean the bathroom" or "are you helping us clean the bathroom". But it is being used in the sense of asking for help. In that case "would", "could" and "can" are equally acceptable, indirection being a polite way of expressing an imperative.
Very much agree with you with regard to these exercises where "can" is the only English version accepted. That simply is not the only valid translation.
To try to get around Duo's requirement, I tried an even simpler translation, at least, simpler in the sense of using the fewest words: "Help us clean the bathroom?" In this case the "would you/will you" part is implied. Yet that answer was ALSO rejected (I reported that it should be accepted), and it supplied the completely unnatural "You help us clean the bathroom?" as the correct answer (which I reported as unnatural).
I agree that there are several ways of making a polite request in English, and all of them are as acceptable as using "can" (some of them arguably more polite). I also think the literal translation of "are you helping us clean the bathroom" should be accepted, too (given the absence of more specific context).
I agree with LeeBrownst1 and Trillones. I submitted 'Do you help us clean the bathroom?', a sentence you may expect to hear from a novice learner of English. Duolingo accepted this but offered no option to report it (browser version).
Sometimes you can be terribly frustrating Duo!
"Will you help us clean the bathroom?" accepted as at 11-Sep-2018.
I think 'Would' is probably used more often these days. 'Can' often gets a retort that "I can (i.e. know how to or am physically able to) and that's the answer to your --- question".
I try to lessen the fear or distaste of getting it 'wrong' by DuoEnglish and sometimes deliberately type what I think is a good expression (as a contribution) then hope that DL will eventually assess its merit.
You don't need to add them when translating from Spanish to English. English just regularly uses these words when making requests.
I'm a bit confused about this translation... is there not a "to" missing?
"Can you help us TO clean the bathroom"
English normally doesn't use "to" when talking about "helping someone do something".
Yes, you're correct. English speakers very often leave it off. It's correct with or without, but neither is wrong.
RyagonIV: Personal experience is not a reliable indicator of idiomatic language use. For instance, using 'to' in this case is very familiar to me, but obviously not for you.
As Brian said "You are all different!"
Sadly, too many people are like those Brian was addressing, who answered as one "Yes, we're all different!"
That's why I said "normally". I cannot claim to be familiar with all variations of English, but I'm aware of what I see regularly used in the sources I read and hear regularly. And "helping someone to do something" is not one of those things.
I'm not saying it's wrong, but I'm certain it's a minority usage.
RyagonIV: "normally"? That's making an argument from personal incredulity!
It's making an argument from the data I have, which I recognise is incomplete. If your experience is different, that's okay and you're welcome to share it. I was just attempting to answer the question.
I would have thought that including "puedes" in the spanish would make the speaker's intention clearer?
It wouldn't be any clearer with poder. Just a bit more polite and/or annoyed.
can, would, will, are - is there any way to discern what word should be first ("___ you help...?")
There's no difference as far as the Spanish sentence is concerned; it's purely an issue with the English. Any of those verbs are acceptable, with different levels of tone/politeness.
For the pedants among us, the use of "can/could you help us" opens oneself to the risk of the sarcastic response, "yes I can/ could help you - but I'm not going to!" Would is a safer often.
The use of any of the possible words means the request is susceptible to sarcastic responses:
'Would you ... ?' 'Yes, I would, but I don't want to.'
'Could you ...?' 'Yes, I could, but I've got better things to do.'
'Can you ...?' 'Yes, I can do anything!'
'Will you ...?' "Yes, I will, but only if you pay me.'
and so on!
The verb form that used here is ayudas, which means that not we are helping, but you are helping, "tú ayudas". The nos is an object here, translating as "us": "Will you help us clean the bathroom?"
I think that...would you help us clean the bathroom...should be accepted. A person might be able to help (can), but are they willing? If they are not willing, you still don't have help cleaning the bathroom. :)