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Ask and ask for

from English Grammar Today

Ask

Ask is a verb meaning ‘put a question or seek an answer from someone’:

Can I ask you a question?

He asked me what age I was.

‘How are you?’ she asked.

Ask + to-infinitive

We can use ask with the to-infinitive to talk about requesting something:

She asked to see Professor Fenton. (ask + to-infinitive)

We asked the City Council to help us organise a sports day. (ask + object + to-infinitive).

Ask for

If you ask for something, it means that you want someone to give you something:

I always ask for extra tomato sauce on my pizza.

They asked their boss for more money, but he refused.

Warning:

Don’t confuse ask for and demand. Demand means ‘ask for something forcefully’, in a way that shows we are not expecting a refusal:

We are writing to ask for your help in finding suitable accommodation in New Haven.

Not: We are writing to demand

Ask and ask for: typical error

  • We use for when we request someone to give us something:

I called them to ask for more details.

Not: I called them to ask more details.

(“Ask and ask for” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)

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