Common mistake ask + object (no preposition)

Common Mistake: Incorrect Use of Prepositions with the Verb "Ask"

As an English grammar guru, I often come across common mistakes that people make when using the English language. One such mistake involves the incorrect use of prepositions with the verb "ask".

The Correct Usage

When using the verb "ask", it is important to remember that it does not require a preposition before the object of the sentence. Many non-native English speakers, and even some native speakers, mistakenly use prepositions such as "for", "to", or "about" after the verb, leading to grammatically incorrect sentences.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the correct usage:

  • Incorrect: She asked for me to pass her the salt.
  • Correct: She asked me to pass her the salt.
  • Incorrect: Can you ask to him if he wants to join us?
  • Correct: Can you ask him if he wants to join us?
  • Incorrect: I asked about him to see if he had arrived.
  • Correct: I asked him to see if he had arrived.

Why is this mistake common?

This mistake is quite common because in some languages, prepositions are required after verbs related to asking. For example, in Spanish, the equivalent verb "preguntar" is followed by the preposition "a". This can lead non-native English speakers to assume that the verb "ask" should also be followed by a preposition.

Furthermore, there are certain phrasal verbs in English that do require prepositions after the verb and object. For instance, "ask for" is a phrasal verb that means to request something. This can further confuse learners of English, as they may mistakenly assume that all uses of "ask" require prepositions.

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ask + object (no preposition) mistake examples

  • Incorrect:
    She asked to me whether I like cats.

    She asked me whether I like cats.

  • Correct:
    She was asked to the party.
  • Incorrect:
    I have to tell to them the truth.

    I have to tell them the truth.

  • Incorrect:
    She was telling to him about the problems of disambiguation.

    She was telling him about the problems of disambiguation.

  • Correct:
    ... what was told to me.
  • Correct:
    Although secrets are often told to us in confidence, we sometimes reveal them.
  • Correct:
    it has been told to them.
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