Pedir o Preguntar: solving a confusing verb pair (II) 1


As we saw in a previous post, there exist few confusing verbs in Spanish. In this post I will take the doubts out of “pedir” and “preguntar”.

Both verbs express the idea “to ask” reason why they are often mixed up by the Spanish learners. The choice of one verb or the other depends upon the context in which is used. They aren’t interchangeable.

However, the rules that tells us which one to use are quite clear. Have a look at them:

  • Pedir means ‘to ask for’, yes, but it has the nuance of requesting an object, service or favor.

– Me ha pedido una hoja de papel porque ha olvidado el cuaderno.
– He asked me for a paper sheet because he forgot the notebook.

En el restaurante (In the restaurant)
– Vamos a pedir un entrante para compartir y un segundo plato cada uno. No tenemos mucha hambre.
– We are going to ask for a starter to share and a main course each. We are not very hungry.

  • Preguntar also means ‘to ask’ but in the sense of asking a question or request some information.

– Te estoy preguntado qué hora es. ¿Puedes contestarme?
– I am asking you what time it is. Can you answer me?

–  Mis suegros me preguntaron sobre mi embarazo.
– My in-laws asked me about my pregnancy.

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