This post is part of the series Warming up for El Día E: Posts to Improve Your Spanish. El Día E is a world-wide celebration of the Spanish Language that will take place on June 23th, 2012.
Posts in this series to celebrate El Día E:
1. Join the Celebration of El Día E
2. To Ask for Something or To Ask a Question: PEDIR and PREGUNTAR [this post]
3. The Spanish Words for TO KNOW: SABER versus CONOCER
4. The Many Ways to Move in Spanish: MOVERSE, MUDARSE, TRASLADAR
5. How to Translate the Conjunction BUT to Spanish: PERO and SINO/SINO QUE
6. The Distinction Between PARECER and PARECERSE
7. Using the Verb HACER to Express Periods of Time
8. 4 Ways to Use the Preposition CON in Spanish
9. 13 Cool and Interesting Facts About the Spanish Language
To Ask for Something or To Ask a Question: The Difference Between PEDIR and PREGUNTAR
The verbs pedir and preguntar both translate to “to ask,” but they are used in different contexts in Spanish.
Preguntar is used for questions.
Me preguntó si se permite fumar en el restaurante. – He asked me if smoking is allowed in the restaurant.
No sé cuántos años tiene María, nunca le pregunté. – I don’t know how old Maria is, I never asked her.
Following that logic, it makes sense that hacer una pregunta means “to ask a question.” Preguntar por is also used when asking a question, but the question must be inquiring about something, or trying to find out about something.
Hay una mujer afuera que pregunta por ti. – There is a woman outside asking for you.
Su madre nunca pregunta por sus nietos. – Your mother never asks about her grandchildren.
Pedir is used for requests or demands.
Te pido, por favor, no fumes aquí. – I ask you to please not smoke here.
Piden $50 pesos por una ensalada. Es un robo. – They ask $50 pesos for a salad. It’s a ripoff.
Pedir prestado means to borrow or to ask to borrow.
Mi hermano siempre me pide prestado dinero. – My brother always asks to borrow money from me.
María le pidió prestado el libro de Luis. – María asked to borrow Luis’s book.
Check out these other articles about Spanish Lessons.
Featured photo credit: Questions? by Valerie Everett via flickr