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A place for students, teachers and native Russian speakers to discuss Russian grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and other aspects of the Russian language.

Differences of verbs.. 'Ask'

+1 vote

I didn't have a problem with the verb 'to ask' until I today realised that there is another form просить / попросить, in addition to спрашивать / спросить.

I haven't heard it much before. I've used "Он(она) спросил(а)" etc, and also imperfective forms of спрашивать.

I'm just wondering in which situation to use просить / попросить.

asked Jun 27, 2013 by bluewmelon (2,560 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote


When you use спрашивать/спросить, you ask a question. Ex.: Я спрошу, сколько ему лет. I will ask how old is he. Я спрашиваю последний раз!  I ask you last time! Я как раз собирался спросить об этом. I was going to ask about it.

When you use просить/попросить, you make a request. Я прошу вас дать мне эту вещь. I ask you to give me this thing. Он попросил меня сделать это. He asked me to do it. Я прошу тебя написать список I am asking you to make a list

answered Jun 27, 2013 by Valeriya Northern (160 points)
+2 votes

Dear bluemelon,

I can also add that спрашивать-спросить (to ask something) is used with the preposition У followed by the Genitive case or without any preposition in the Accusative case. The first option is used normally for asking concrete information.

Я спросил его, как у него дела.
I asked him how he was.

Я спросил у него, когда он приедет.
I asked him when we would come.

The verb просить-попросить (to ask smb for smth) is used with the preposition У and the Genitive case (smb) and the Accusative case (for smth).

Она попросила у мамы ручку.
She asked her Mom to give her a pen.

Yulia Amlinskaya,
Russian language teacher.


answered Jun 27, 2013 by RussianTeacher (19,690 points)
I also found another verb for ask in this children's story:
"И за то, что он задавал по тысяче вопросов в минуту, ему крепко доставалось от строгой мамы."
In which situations is this verb appropriate?
Hi, sorry for the delay!

It's a collocation in Russian, if you want to say "to ask a question" in Russian you would use "задавать-задать вопрос".
Спасибо большое!