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שאל ל or שאל את

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by TalomedIvrit, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. TalomedIvrit Junior Member

    Does the object of the verb שאל take a form of ל or את (such as אותו):

    When the object is a person:
    He asked me. לי or אותי

    He asked me, "What is your name"?

    He asked me to help the old man.

    He asked David to help the old man.

    When the object is "question" or other non-person:
    He asked the question.

    He asked for help.

    When both types of objects appears in the sentence:
    He asked me the question.

    He asked David the question.

    He asked David to help the old man.
  2. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    I think:

    שאל אותי

    הוא ביקש ממני לעזור לקשיש

    לבקש: request, ask
    לשאול: ask (question)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  3. anipo Senior Member

    Spanish (Arg)- German
    Hello, Talomed
    When שאל is used to ask a question it is always את.
    הוא שאל אותי איפה התחנה.
    הוא שאל אותי את השאלה
    הוא שאל את דוד את השאלה

    When by "to ask" you are requesting something (help, a favor, etc.) you don't use שאל in Hebrew, but בשק. And then you use מ (from).
    .ביקשתי ממנו עזרה. הוא ביקש ממני לעזור לזקן

    The only instance I can think of now when לי is used is when you mean "lend something to somebody", and then the binyan is hif'il (and not pa'al or kal as in שואל).
    הוא השאיל לי את הספר.
  4. ystab Senior Member

    שאל לשלומו - asked (someone) how someone was doing. Examples:
    1. שאלתי אותו לשלומו והוא ענה לי ששלומו מצוין
    2. הוא שאל אותן לשלומה של של אמן והן ענו לו שהיא חולה

    This is the only case I know of with that preposition. Otherwise, את both for someone and something.
  5. Tararam Senior Member

    There are also these:
    הוא שאל לעצתו
    הוא שאל לרצונו
    And I think you can say many other things using this construction.
    I can't seem to come up with a definite English translation, but it's something between "He asked to know about...", and "He asked (ביקש) him for...".
  6. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    שאל can meen asked, requested, borrowed.
    The ambiguity of asked and requested exists also in English (I asked him a question, I asked him to be quite).
  7. David S Senior Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    English - US
    How about for "answering" questions / people? Can all of these examples be replaced by לאנות? e.g.
    הוא ענה אותי את השאלה
    הוא ענה את דוד את השאלה
  8. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    In this case we say לענות ל[מישהו] על השאלה.
    הוא ענה לי על השאלה.
    הוא ענה לדוד על השאלה.

    הוא ענה את התשובה הנכונה על השאלה.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  9. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    I suppose it might be confusing to someone whose native language does not have a dative form different from the accusative form.
  10. C_J Junior Member

    In general, "ask [enquire] sbdy" = ... לשאול את and "answer sbdy" = לענות ל..
    לשאול ל... is used in some cases, but not with pronouns. It has a similar meaning to "enquired as for ..."/"enquired for ..."

    BTW לשאול also means "to borrow" [to take] (unlike להשאיל "to borrow" [to give], also widely confused with ללוות/להלוות which mean "to lend"), so לשאול מ always means "borrow from" (but להשאיל ל).
    Also, לענות has a few homophones/graphs, for instance: partial homophone/homograph of "to torture" (הוא ענה vs הוא עינה). So לענות את mainly used for "to torture" but, and לענות ל/על/ב are used for "to answer/respond"...
  11. TalomedIvrit Junior Member

    It appears that answering a letter also uses the preposition על
  12. anipo Senior Member

    Spanish (Arg)- German
    Right:ענה על מכתב. Also ענה על השאלה (as was indicated in a previous post), ענה על מייל, ענה על מאמר, ענה על הטענותת, etc. Also ענה על הציפיות (met the expectations), which is an idiom.
    But I fear we have strayed from the original שאל to ענה ;).

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