Today we provide a short explanation about the difference between preguntar and pedir. If you wish to correctly use both verbs, take a look at the blog of our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem 🙂
Sometimes learning Spanish verbs can be challenging for students. That is mainly due to the fact that two or more Spanish verbs only have one equivalent in other languages. Therefore their use is apparently the same.
Preguntar and pedir belongs to his groups of verb. Although they can look like the same, they cannot be used interchangeably and the choice of one over another depends on the context and the purpose of our action.
First of all, we remind you that preguntar and pedir generically mean “to ask” in English.
So, how do we know which one we should use? That’s easy! Just pay attention to what you are asking for 😉
In Spanish we use preguntar when we ask a question or inquire about someone or something.
Basically, we use it when we want to find out information about persons, age, time, places, price, ideas, facts, concepts, etc.
Preguntaré a mi hermana dónde compró ese libro = I will ask my sister where she bought that book
Voy a preguntar cuánto cuesta el billete para Madrid = I am going to ask how much the ticket to Madrid is
Anoche Paula me preguntò por ti = Yesterday evening Paula asked me about you
Besides, preguntar can be used as a reflexive verb (preguntarse). In this case, it means “wonder”, “to ask oneself”. See the example below:
Me pregunto en qué país estará viviendo ahora Celeste = I wonder in which country Celeste will be living now
To correctly translate “ask a question” in Spanish, we use the verb hacer instead of preguntar. Hence the correct expression is “hacer una pregunta” and NOT “preguntar una pregunta”.
Firstly, we use pedir to ask for / requesting something.
La azafata me pidió mi tarjeta de embarque = The flight attendant asked me for my boarding pass
Le he pedido un bolígrafo y un post-it para tomar nota de la dirección = I asked for a pen and a post-it to write down the address
Ana pidió un descuento al propietario de la tienda = Ana asked the owner for a discount
Secondly, pedir is also commonly used for ordering food or drinks in a bar, restaurant, etc.
He pedido una pizza = I ordered a pizza
Esta noche vamos a pedir comida japonesa = Tonight we are going to order Japanese food
Lucía ha pedido el menú del día = Lucia ordered the set menu
Finally, we come across this verb to ask someone to do something, to ask for help or request a favor:
Le he pedido al conductor que pare en la próxima estación de servicio = I asked the driver to stop at the next service station
Necesito pedirte un favor = I need to ask you a favor
Valentina me ha pedido que le ayude con su tesis = Valentina asked me to help her write her dissertation
We hope this blog will help you avoid mistakes when using preguntar and pedir.
Finally, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem will be happy to provide you with a cozy place where to learn or improve your Spanish in Valencia.
Have a nice day!