Ask to versus ask of


Is the below sentence correct?  I think the word "to" to shoud be changed to "of", but I'm not sure.


were you able to ask those questions to your attorneys?


Thanks much for any help you can provide!

asked Oct 23 '13 at 17:34 Dee New member

2 answers


The sentence with 'to' is grammatically correct in modern contemporary spoken English, but in British English when the indirect object is short "your attorneys", we would prefer to put it first.  For example, 


Were you able to ask your lawyers (Br. Eng.) those questions? 


If the indirect object is long, however, we genrally put it last.


For example:


Were you able to ask those questions to the lawyers that the state had appointed to represent you? 


"ask a question of someone" sounds pompous or overly formal.


However, if we substitute a quantity, this is perfectly okay.


For example,


You're asking a lot of me.

link answered Oct 24 '13 at 12:53 Paul Henderson Contributor

Are you a native speaker, sir?

SanjayOct 24 '13 at 16:50

add comment

The correct preposition is "of". So, the sentence should read: "Were you able to ask those questions of the lawyers....?"


Asking a question of someone is grammatically correct. It is an old-fashioned way of saying that you asked someone a question.


@Paul Henderson: I disagree with you. When you say "You're asking a lot of me", it's not the same thing as "You're asking me many questions".  It means something completely different. If I say "You're asking a lot of me", it means you're demanding a lot from me; you're placing a lot of responsibility on me; you're expecting too much from me. It has nothing to do with asking me questions.

link comment answered Oct 21 '16 at 21:53 Carol Idoko New member

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.