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Language tip of the week: ask

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the verb ask:

The verb ask is never used with the preposition to. It takes a direct personal object, so you can:

  • ask someone something
  • ask someone what / where / why / how etc

✗ The speaker asks to the men how many children they have.
✓ The speaker asks the men how many children they have.
✗ It is an interesting question that every European should ask to himself.
✓ It is an interesting question that every European should ask himself.
✗ Airport security staff might ask to the passengers where they are going.
✓ Airport security staff might ask the passengers where they are going.

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Kerstin Johnson

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