request vs ask : Common Errors in English

request or ask

If you want something you can request it or you can ask for it. Many people like “request” because it sounds more formal, more elegant; but to other people it just sounds pretentious. There are many instances in which plain old “ask” works better: “I'm asking my buddies to go camping with me.” “She asked him to walk the dog.” Except on wedding invitations, try to avoid “request” where “ask” will do as well.

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  • n  a formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority
  • n  the verbal act of requesting
  • v  express the need or desire for; ask for
    She requested an extra bed in her room
  • v  ask (a person) to do something
    I requested that she type the entire manuscript
  • v  inquire for (information)
    I requested information from the secretary

  • v  inquire about
    I asked about their special today
    He had to ask directions several times
  • v  make a request or demand for something to somebody
    She asked him for a loan
  • v  direct or put; seek an answer to
    ask a question
  • v  consider obligatory; request and expect
    Aren't we asking too much of these children?
  • v  address a question to and expect an answer from
    The children asked me about their dead grandmother
  • v  require as useful, just, or proper
    This job asks a lot of patience and skill
  • v  require or ask for as a price or condition
    He is asking $200 for the table
    The kidnappers are asking a million dollars in return for the release of their hostage
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