Tell him / Ask him

< Previous | Next >


New Member
India-English& Hindi
Hello ,

Tell him to start early
Ask him to start early.

What is the difference . I think the both are same.Could you tell me if there is difference.

  • kitenok

    Senior Member
    Hi Mr. Cool,

    The answer (or at least the ingredients for an answer) can be found in the WordReference dictionary. See definition B3 for tell (give instructions or direct somebody to do something with authority), and definition A1 for ask (make a request or demand for something to somebody).

    So you see that "tell" must mean that there is some presumption of authority and/or an expectation that the order will be fulfilled, while "ask" might mean this or it might simply refer to a request for a favor.


    Senior Member
    You have to start early on Saturday. Come in at 8.
    (Telling someone)

    We need someone to come in early on Saturday. So, could you please come in at 8. (Asking someone)


    Senior Member
    I was working with other guys on some problem and I was unable to fix it up. So I told other guy, go and ask senior that I need him?
    just confirming that ask would be better than tell.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    No, you would use 'tell' in that sentence: "Go and tell senior that I need him."
    You would use 'ask' in this sort of sentence: "Go and ask senior to come to help me."
    Then your friend will ask a question, something like "Will you come to help dumbfounded?"

    (We wouldn't use 'senior' by itself in this way. If you are interested, you should start another thread to ask what you should use. Explain who 'senior' is, and ask people what to use there.)
    < Previous | Next >