Phrasal verbs : «Ask for» or «ask about»

Phrasal verb: Ask for

Literal definition: ask + for = to request something or somebody

Upon arriving to the office the sales representative asked for the director.

Some waiters seem very irritated when you ask them for additional items with your meals.


Figurative definition 1: ask for = to deserve punishment or a negative consequence

By complaining about the boss out loud close to the boss’ office, he is really asking for a dismissal.

The boy was horrified when the dog bit him, but by pulling its tail and kicking the dog he was really asking for it.


Phrasal verb: Ask about

Literal definition: ask + about = to inquire about a subject or person

He asked about the meeting that was held earlier that morning.

When you talk to her, be sure to ask about their plans for the summer.


Figurative definition 1: ask about* = to ask multiple people or sources

We don’t know if it will work for everyone. Can you ask about?

I need to find out what the interest level is. Ask about will you?

*Note: much more common is the expression ‘ask around’


29/12/2016Level - difficulty 2IrelandVideo1 min