ask

Listen:
UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈɑːsk/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/æsk, ɑsk/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(ask, äsk)


WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
ask
‘ask’
You say that someone asks a question.
The police officer asked me a lot of questions.
Be careful
Don't say that someone ‘says a question’.
reporting questions
When you report a yes/no-question, you usually use ask with an if-clause.
She asked him if he spoke French.
Someone asked me if the work was going well.
You can also use a clause beginning with ‘whether’.
I asked Brian whether he agreed.
When you report a wh-question, you usually use ask with a wh-clause.
I asked him what he wanted.
He asked me where I was going.
Be careful
In the wh-clause, the subject and the verb do not change places. Don't say, for example, ‘He asked me when was the train leaving’. You say ‘He asked me when the train was leaving’.
You can say that someone asks someone else their name or their age.
He asked me my name.
You can say that someone asks someone else's opinion.
I was asked my opinion about the new car.
You don't need to say who a question is addressed to if this is clear from the context.
A young man asked if we were students.
I asked whether they liked the film.
Be careful
Don't use ‘to’ when mentioning who a question is addressed to. Don't say, for example, ‘He asked to me my name’.
direct reporting
You can use ask when reporting directly what someone says.
‘How many languages can you speak?’ he asked.
‘Have you met him?’ I asked.
reporting requests
When someone says that they want to be given something, you report this using ask and for. For example, if a man says to a waiter ‘Can I have a glass of water?’, you report this as ‘He asked for a glass of water’ or ‘He asked the waiter for a glass of water’.
We asked for the bill.
When someone says that they want to speak to another person on the telephone, you say that they ask for that person.
He rang the office and asked for Cynthia.
When someone tells another person that they want them to do something, you report this using ask and either a to-infinitive clause or an if-clause.
He asked her to marry him.
I asked him if he could help.
Reporting
'ask' also found in these entries:
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