https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaGuaGua

Pulire vs Lavare

As far as I was aware, "pulire" means to clean, and "lavare" means to wash. However, I noticed something off about the Italian Infinitive 2 lessons in regards to these 2 words.

One sentence Duo gave me was "I made him WASH the car." I accidentally wrote "gli ho fatto pulire l'automobile." and it was marked wrong and corrected to "gli ho fatto lavare l'automobile."

I though I understood my mistake, but then another sentence came along: "I decided to CLEAN the leather jacket." I wrote "ho deciso di pulire la giacca di cuoio." Again I was marked wrong, and it was corrected to lavare. ( I thought lavare meant to wash, not clean, and you certainly wouldn't wash your leather jacket, you would (dry) clean it!)

So why in the second sentence did lavare mean to clean but in the first sentence lavare meant to wash? Are the 2 words interchangeable?

:)

August 14, 2018

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/CivisRomanus

As far as I was aware, "pulire" means to clean, and "lavare" means to wash

This is correct.

but then another sentence came along: "I decided to CLEAN the leather jacket." I wrote "ho deciso di pulire la giacca di cuoio."

There is a small mistake in your Italian sentence, and it is NOT the verb because, as you wrote, "to clean" is pulire:

  • the leather jacket = la giacca di pelle

Leather can be cuoio when it is rather thick, but pelle when it is thin an pliable, as the type used for making garments.
For instance, the upper part of a shoe is made of pelle, but the sole is made of cuoio (see also https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/26914015).

Speaking of the verb, three possible solutions are:

  • I decided to clean the jacket. = (Io) ho deciso di pulire la giacca.

  • I decided to wash the jacket. = (Io) ho deciso di lavare la giacca.

  • I decided to dry-clean the jacket. = (Io) ho deciso di lavare la giacca a secco.

To dry-clean is lavare a secco; a secco is an invariable adverbial expression, which can stand either immediately after the verb, or after the direct object (as in my example).
In informal Italian, pulire a secco is also commonly used. But the more proper verb is lavare a secco.

Alternatively:

  • I decided to have the jacket cleaned. = (Io) ho deciso di far pulire la giacca.

  • I decided to have the jacket washed. = (Io) ho deciso di far lavare la giacca.

  • I decided to have the jacket dry-cleaned. = (Io) ho deciso di far lavare a secco la giacca.

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaGuaGua

wow! you always give the most thorough answers! tu dai sempre le risposte piu complete!

so I guess in this specific sentence, the 'lavare' Duo was referring to was 'lavare a secco'?

grazie mille per la tua risposta!!

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CivisRomanus

Thanks for your appreciation. :-)
The sentence may have likely referred to lavare a secco (or pulire a secco). But Duolingo is usually strict, and expects a literal translation. So I am suprised that "I decided to clean..." was not translated as Ho deciso di pulire....
If you come across this exercise again, you may wish to report it. Duolingo should either change the verb into "wash" (or "dry-clean"), or the verb of the correct answer should be changed into pulire.

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaGuaGua

i will report it next time!

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MABBY

I'm not certain, but I think pulire has a sense of "tidying up".
So you clean a room with pulire.

Lavare is definitely for washing and scrubbing, wet or dry cleaning.

August 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CivisRomanus

Pulire is actually "to clean" (by dusting, sweeping, washing the floor, etc.).
Tidying up would be mettere in ordine, or riordinare.

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MABBY

Also, when used as an adjective, pulire is always used:

  • Il pavimento e' pulito. (The floor is clean)

Because an adjective always matches gender and quantity, you can encounter pulita, puliti, and pulite as well.

  • Vedo la sua macchina pulita (I see his clean car)
  • Lui lava la sua macchina (He washes his car)
August 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation

im going to do the italian course on duolingo soon when i finish the dutch tree. what should i watch out for when i do the course?

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/vesna2691

You should watch out not to eating too much pizza and gelato because they are very addictive. So is the Italian language. :-D

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation

im not the real rocco hunt ahahahah

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ddeck22

I'm surprised that you are not already fluent in Italian Signor Hunt. When you rap it sounds like your native language. I think some songs are in Neopolitan.....

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation

ye l'ammore overo and maletiempo (my person favourite) are neapolitan. i recognise most italian words i just dont know what they mean

August 16, 2018

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