Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the differences between the words "talk" and "ask." These are verbs that have a couple of similar uses but, actually, making sentences and making some patterns with them might be a little bit different. Let's take a look at that. Then, we'll finish today's lesson with a quiz. Let's begin.
The first verb I want to talk about is the verb "talk." We use the verb "talk" to refer to everyday conversations. This is an information sharing between two people. I don't really use the word "talk" unless I'm having a conversation or a discussion. We can use the word "talk" to talk about when you are alone and you're talking to yourself. But for today's lesson, I'm going to focus on the use of this verb for conversations with other people, between two people or more. "Talk" is more casual than the verb "speak." You might have seen a different video on this channel where I explained the word "speak," and I think the other verbs were "say" and "tell." "Talk" is more casual than the word "speak." Please keep that in mind. Then, when making sentences with the verb "talk," this is the first point I want to mention, when the direct object of the verb is a person, you can use "to" or "with" after the verb, "talk."
Let's look at some examples. First, "I need to talk to you about the plan for the weekend," is one. "He talked with the team about some ideas." In these sentences, I've followed the verb "talk," here in present tense; and here, in past tense, I followed it with different prepositions. In the first sentence I used "to." In the second sentence I use "with." Generally, there's not a difference between "to" and "with." However, in some cases, it can give a little bit of a nuance. For example, "to" might sound a little bit like one person wants to do the majority of the talking. One person is going to share more information than the other person. Using "with" sounds a little bit more like something is happening together. Generally, you can use either one. Just keep this in mind if you really, really want to focus in on this point.
Let's talk about the second point for this verb, though. When the direct object is a topic, you can use "about" to introduce that topic. Let's look at some examples of this. Here, "She talks a lot about her vacations." Another, "We talk about our favorite books at our book club;" and, "The professor talked about the syllabus." In each of these sentences, we see the verb "talk" in present tense and in past tense here is followed by the word "about," and then the topic of the discussion. If you're using "about," that means you need to follow the word with just a simple topic noun phrase. Please keep this in mind. If the direct object is a person, you should use "to" or "with" before the person or the group of people as well. If you're following the verb with a topic, please use "about" to introduce that topic.
Finally, we can combine these points to make a sentence like, "Talk to your classmates about last week's lecture." Here, we see both of these points in the same sentence. "Talk to your classmates," these are the people to discuss things with. "Talk to your classmates about last week's lecture," the topic of discussion. We can combine all of these points to make one sentence. Sounds quite nice.
Let's take a look at the other verb for today. The other verb for today is "ask." "Ask" is different from "talk." We use "ask" to request information. We need new information. We need something we do not have. "Ask" is more casual than "request" or "inquire." "Request" and "inquire" sound a little more formal. In everyday conversation, to get new information from someone, "ask" is probably the best choice.
When we're making sentences with "ask" and if the direct object is a person, there's no preposition that's needed. This is a mistake that I hear a lot, actually. Let's look at some examples. I'll show you what I mean. First example, "Ask your father what time he'll be home." Here's the verb "ask" and here is the person. "Ask your father." Another, "My boss asked me about the status of the project." One more. "Can you ask the manager about this item on the menu?" In each of these sentences, you see the verb "ask" is followed by a person, but there's no preposition. Sometimes I hear students say, "ask to someone," or "ask to me," or "ask to your manager" or something. No preposition is needed with the verb "ask." Yes, you should use a preposition if you're using the verb "talk." "Talk to someone," "talk with someone," but when you're using the verb "ask," you don't need to use a preposition. There should not be any "ask to your father" or "ask to me." No preposition there. Please be careful at this point.
Let's go to point two for the verb "ask." When you want to introduce the topic of your question, you can use about to do that, just as we saw with the verb "talk," as over here. Let's look at some examples of this, then. "I'd like to ask about hotel reservations." Here is "ask," "about," "hotel reservations," my topic here. Then, another example. "They asked us about our favorite coffee. Here, I've combined these two points already. Again, "We should ask about renting space for the party." When you want to introduce the topic, the thing you would like to ask about the question you have, you can use "about" after the verb to do that. Let's combine these points to make another sentence. I've done that a couple of times up here already but let's look at how we can combine these things into one phrase. Here, "I need to ask my parents about our family history." Here, we see the person we're going to ask the question to and the topic as well. Please keep in mind, combining these two points into one sentence will make a much more natural phrase than separating it into two sentences.
Those are the points I want to talk about with "talk" and "ask." Let's take a look now to finish at a quiz, a quick quiz. Let's choose the verb. It could be present tense. It could be past tense here. First one, "Something something your sister for help with your homework." There are a couple of clues here. One is that we have "your sister." There's no preposition here. That probably means we should use the word "ask." Also, if we try to use the word "talk" here, "Talk to your sister for help with your homework," it doesn't quite match. This sounds more like a question. So, the answer to this one is "Ask your sister for help." Let's look at the next one. "He something something to the manager after dinner." Here, we have a big hint. The word "to" is used. That probably means "talk." Here, we have another hint, "after dinner." This probably means we should use the word "talked." "He talked to the manager after dinner." Past tense talk. Next one. "Where is the bathroom? We should something something someone." Here's our big question. We have a question. We need information. So, the verb is going to be "ask" in this case. "We should ask someone." There's no preposition here either. No "to," no "with." One more. "Let's something something about our goals." Here, this seems like the speaker is excited about the topic, which means they're probably not asking a question. Therefore, the verb should be "talk." "Let's talk about our goals." Next one. "Why don't you something something him about his plans?" Here, again a question. A question is the big hint here. We don't have a preposition, we just have "him." That means we should use the verb "ask." "Why don't you ask him about his plans?" Last one. "She never something something to me." Finally, again, we have this big hint, the preposition "to" is here. So, we should use the verb "talks." "She never talks to me." These are a few examples of ways that you can use "ask" and "talk" in some common sentences. I hope that that's useful for you.
If you have any questions or comments about how to use these two verbs or if you'd like to try to practice making sentences, please feel free to do so in the comment section below this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson. I will see you again soon. Bye, bye.

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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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EnglishClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 08:09 AM
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Hello Anne,


Thank you for taking the time to write to us. ๐Ÿ‘


The word 'for' is a preposition that can be defined as 'intended to be given to' or 'having the purpose of.' Therefore to 'ask for help' - means 'requesting information/ assistance for the purpose of help.'


Most of the time it wouldn't be correct to 'ask about help.' The word 'about' is a preposition or adverb, as a preposition it means 'on the subject of.' Therefore to say 'ask about help' would mean 'request information on the subject of 'help.''


If there's any way we can help you throughout your studies, please don't hesitate to ask us any other questions you have here.


Cheers,

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EnglishClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 07:06 AM
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Hello Teresa,


Thanks for your message!


I hope we can help you to achieve your English language goals!! ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„


Feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.


Many thanks,

ร‰va

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Teresa Reyno
Friday at 03:05 PM
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โค๏ธ๏ธโค๏ธ๏ธ

Anne
Tuesday at 02:28 AM
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Please explain "ask FOR help".

Why not "ask ABOUT help"?

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Sunday at 05:30 PM
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Hi Mukti,


You're welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‡

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Kind regards,

Levente

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Mukti Prakash Datta
Sunday at 05:15 AM
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Thanks๐Ÿ‘