6 phrasal verbs with "Ask"

6 phrasal verbs with "Ask"

By Alena Lien, 

8 February 2021

Click below to get more information on each phrasal verb.


Ask about (somebody)



1.   To ask for information about someone, especially about their health.

 


  • "Ever since you got hospitalised, Mum's been asking about you."

 



2.   To know how somebody is, what they are doing, etc.


 

  • "Wally's been asking a lot about Eve lately - he seems really interested in her."




-   Preposition: About

This can mean "concerning" or "on the subject of."


It is quite common to hear this phrase to ask about things or make enquiries.



  • "I went to see the lecturer to ask about Victorian history."

  • "I'm calling to ask about the holiday package to South Korea."





Ask after (somebody)



-   To ask for information about someone, especially about their health.


This could be outdated, but there is evidence that it is still being used.


It may also be considered more formal and personal than "ask about," but this is not that clear in the Cambridge Dictionary.



  • "Ever since you got hospitalised, Mum's been asking after you."





Ask around



-   To ask different people to get information or help.



  • "I tried asking around but no one seems to know where the toilet is."

  • "I'm sure someone will be free to give you a hand if you ask around."





Ask (somebody) back



1.   To invite someone to return to a place or an event.

 


  • "I thought we wouldn't be asked back after the mess we left last time."

  • "We've been asked back for next month's competition."




2.   To ask someone to return for another interview for a job.



  • It's always both nerve-racking and a relief to be asked back for a second interview."




-   "Invite back" vs "Ask back"

 

Alternatively, you can use "invite back" to mean the same thing.


 

  • "We've been invited back for next month's competition."

  • "It's always both nerve-racking and a relief to be invited back for a second interview."




Ask for



1.   "Ask for (somebody)" - to request to see or speak to someone.

 


  • "When you arrive, ask for Eve at the reception."

  • "Someone asked for you earlier but they didn't leave a message."



 

2.   "Ask for (something)" - to request something to be given to you.


 

  • "It's okay to ask for help."

  • "I asked the waiter for more rice but they ran out."




-   "Ask to" or "Ask for"

 

"Ask to" - to request to see or speak to someone, or to request something. 


However, "ask for" sounds more natural and sounds more polite - "ask to" sounds more demanding.

 


Compare the following sentences: 


  • "When you arrive, ask to see Eve at the reception."

  • "When you arrive, ask for Eve at the reception."


 

  • "I asked the waiter to give me more rice but they ran out."

  • "I asked the waiter for more rice but they ran out."





Ask (somebody) out



-   To invite somebody out on a date as a way of starting a romantic relationship.

 


  • "After all this time, he finally asked her out."




-   "Invite" or "Ask out"

 

"Invite" does not imply romantic gestures unless context is provided. However "ask out" almost always implies romantic intentions.

 


  • "He invited her to try out the new cafe around the corner."

This does not really imply any kind of romantic gesture. It just sounds like friends getting coffee together.



  • "After all this time, he finally invited her to dinner."

Dinner is often considered a date activity, and that he "finally" invited her implies he has been interested for a while.


 

  • "He invited her to share a cozy weekend together."

Definitely sounds like a romantic relationship.





Related Expressions



"Couldn't ask for (somebody/something)" - to emphasise that somebody or something is the best.


- With a comparative adjective.



  • "Wally was really understanding and compassionate about my situation - I couldn't have asked for a more caring boss."

  • "The wedding was great! Couldn't have asked for better weather."




"Ask for trouble/it" - (informal) to behave in a way so that something unpleasant is likely to happen to you.



  • "You're just asking for trouble if you keep provoking people like that."

  • "People who behave that way are just asking for it."