Are the verbs ‘ask’ and ‘ask for’ different?

Are the verbs ‘ask’ and ‘ask for’ different?

Question by Maribel from Alicante

Thank you, Maribel, for your question.  A lot of people don’t ask this question, but they are wondering it!  It is a verb-preposition (or phrasal verb) that is commonly misused.  Let’s clarify:


We use ‘to ask’, for the basic meaning of asking a question.


She asks a lot of questions in class.

He asked me if I was going to be available tomorrow.

The bank was asked what it did with the money.


We use ‘ask for’ (separable phrasal verb) when we are asking for something or for someone to do something.


I’m going to ask for directions so we don’t get lost.

Ask her for another coffee, please.

People say it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.

He always asks his parents for money.