Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about the difference between question, ask, and inquire. These are three verbs that seem very similar but have a few different uses. I'll talk about some definitions and then I'll share some examples to give you an idea of how you can use these verbs.
Okay. Let's get started. I want to begin with the verb "question, to question." Please be careful. Today, I'm not talking about the noun form, "question;" I'm talking about the verb form, "to question something." "To question" as a verb has a couple of different meanings. First, it means to ask for information, to ask someone for information. This often has the nuance of interrogating someone. "To interrogate someone," this is a verb we use, for example, in like police situations or like suspect or crime-related situations where police or authority figures ask a lot of questions to a person who is suspected of a crime. That's interrogation as a noun, or in the verb form, "to interrogate." Maybe a slightly less serious form of interrogate is question. It means you're asking for information usually about a serious matter.
Let's look at an example. Here, "The reporter questioned the CEO about the year's changes." In this case, it's a business situation. A reporter is talking to a CEO about changes in the company, perhaps, for the year, and the verb "question," in past tense, "questioned," is used to mean the reporter is asking for information in a serious manner. This probably also means that the reporter is asking many different questions, not just one question but asking a series of questions about the same topic.
Okay. Let's take a look at the second meaning for this lesson of the verb "question." The second meaning here is "to doubt." Like if you're suspicious of something or something doesn't seem true, for example, it doesn't seem genuine, we can use the verb "question" to describe that. Let's look at an example. "I can't believe you're questioning my loyalty." Here, "question," in the progressive form, "questioning," refers to doubting someone's loyalty. This could be as like a member of a team, a member of a group, a member of a company, whatever. In other words, the person listening is questioning or is doubting the speaker's loyalty. Meaning, they're not sure if it's true or not. "To question" can mean to doubt as well.
All right. One more example sentence here just to refresh. I think the first meaning is applicable for this sentence. "The suspect was questioned this morning." Here, it's used in passive, and we see that it's again in some kind of criminal or crime-related situation. This is something you'll commonly see in news, like in reports related to crime, "to question."
Okay. Now though, let's move on to "ask" and "inquire." Let's start with "ask." The verb "to ask" means to request, one, to request something. It also means to look for information. You'll see actually, this is the same as I have for "inquire," but one key difference here is that "ask" is the most commonly used verb. It's more casual than "inquire." I'll show you some examples of how to use this. First one, "She asked him for help with her report." Here, "asked" has the meaning of request. In other words, "She requested him for help with her report." Here, we have past tense "asked." "She asked him for help." The second example sentence, "They asked where the restroom was." Again, we have past tense here. In this case, "They're looking for information." You could understand it as requesting information. But here, "They are looking for some information." This is a fairly simple, a fairly casual situation. "Ask" is a good choice here. We don't need to use "inquire" as that sounds a little too formal. "Ask" is used in these everyday simple situations. "To request help," for example, or, "To get some information."
Okay. Now, let's take a look at "inquire." As I said, "inquire," I have the same definitions listed for "inquire" as I have for "ask." However, "inquire" sounds more formal than "ask." We can use it in similar situations in terms of the meaning, but when you use "inquire," it should be for something that's a little more serious or not so maybe every day, maybe in like business situations or in customer-client relations, for example. Let's take a look at some examples of when "inquire" might be used. First one, "Reporters inquired about the president's motivations." "Reporters inquired about." In this case, it's reporters, they're searching for information about the president's motivations. This is connected to this meaning, looking for information. "The reporters are trying to find some information here." Let's look at the next example sentence. "People shouldn't inquire about the private lives of celebrities." Here, "inquire" is used in present tense. In other words, people shouldn't look for information, or maybe even people shouldn't request information about the private lives of celebrities.
These are perhaps more formal situations. These might be something you could see in the news, for example, or in more serious situations or in serious discussions. When you're choosing between "ask" and "inquire," ask yourself, is this a casual situation? If so, "ask" is probably the best choice. If it's more formal like a business situation, you might use "inquire" instead. When you want to talk about like interrogations and asking lots and lots of questions, you might use the verb "question" here instead.
I hope that that helps you. I hope you can get an idea of some of the differences between these three verbs. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Saturday at 03:18 PM
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Hello Mukti,

You're welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‡

If you ever have any questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


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Mukti Prakash Datta
Saturday at 05:58 AM
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Thank you very much Ms Alisha๐Ÿ‘