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Today we’ll learn the verb Preguntar, which means “to ask”, as well as Preguntarse, which means “to wonder”. We’ll get lots of spoken practice with both Preguntar and Preguntarse in real sentence contexts. Practice along out loud!

Full Podcast Episode


Te tengo que preguntar algo.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to explore the verb Preguntar, which means “to ask”. This is very clearly related to the noun pregunta, which means “question”. Here’s a simple sentence example:

I have to ask him something.

Le tengo que preguntar algo.

So Preguntar is a verb that tends to take both direct and indirect objects. In this sentence, le is the indirect object, the recipient of what is being asked. And then the direct object is algo. Try it yourself in this next example, where the word “them” is going to be an indirect object in Spanish.

I want to ask them another thing.

Les quiero preguntar otra cosa.

There are quite a few verbs in Spanish that take both direct and indirect objects like this. The first one that we learned was Hacer. So for example, let’s take the sentence “I have to ask him something” and switch out Preguntar for Hacer. We get:

I have to make him something.

Le tengo que hacer algo.

So as you can see, Preguntar and Hacer function very similarly in a grammatical sense.

Now typically, when you use the verb Preguntar, the indirect object will be a person and the direct object will be the question that you’re asking that person. So far, in our examples, the things we’ve asked are “something” (or algo) and “another thing” (or otra cosa). Let’s try another variation:

They must ask me those things.

Me deben preguntar esas cosas.

OK, now what if we wanted to make it as simple as possible, and simply ask a question? For example:

I want to ask them a question.

There’s a problem: In Spanish, you can’t use both Preguntar and pregunta in the same phrase. So it really seems like this sentence should be le quiero preguntar una pregunta. But there’s a special rule any time the direct object is specifically the noun pregunta: You’ll change the verb to Hacer. So this will be:

Les quiero hacer una pregunta.

Now, this rule only applies if what you’re asking specifically uses the noun pregunta or preguntas. In other situations, you’ll use Preguntar.

Let’s get some practice choosing between Preguntar and Hacer.

I want to ask them the questions.

Les quiero hacer las preguntas.

Can I ask you something?

¿Te puedo preguntar algo?

They need to ask me three more things.

Necesitan preguntarme tres cosas más.

He didn’t mean to ask me that question.

No me quiso hacer esa pregunta.

All right, now let’s start conjugating this verb. Preguntar is conjugated exactly like Hablar, so it’s pretty easy to conjugate. So as a couple of examples:

I ask him it every day.

Se lo pregunto todos los días.

He asks his mother.

Le pregunta a su madre.

In that last one, notice that we used an indirect object but not a direct object. We didn’t name what it is that he’s asking his mother. Normally this verb will use both a direct and an indirect object, but sometimes it uses only one or the other. Here’s an example where we only use a direct object.

They ask something new every day.

Preguntan algo nuevo todos los días.

Here’s another example, where the direct object is an entire phrase:

They asked me where she was.

Me preguntaron dónde estaba.

So in this one, the phrase that starts with dónde is being treated as a noun, specifically as a direct object. This is very common, and we can actually do it with any of our interrogative words, such as “where”, “how”, “who”, and “what”. Here’s another example:

They asked me what happened.

Me preguntaron qué pasó.

So in this one, qué pasó is the direct object. Try it yourself in this next example:

I asked them how they did that.

Les pregunté cómo hicieron eso.

All right, let’s go ahead and get a bit of practice with the present and preterite forms of this verb. I’ll also throw in one or two uses of hacer una pregunta, so watch for that!

You didn’t ask me that.

No me preguntaste eso.

We always ask him that.

Siempre le preguntamos eso.

I never ask anything.

Nunca pregunto nada.

He asked me what happened on the news.

Me preguntó qué pasó en las noticias.

I wanted to ask you a question, but I had a call.

Quería hacerte una pregunta, pero tenía una llamada.

They asked us that fifty-eight times.

Nos preguntaron eso cincuenta y ocho veces.

I asked him first, and later we all asked him.

Yo le pregunté primero y luego todos nosotros le preguntamos.

They always ask me how old I am… I’m forty-nine.

Siempre me preguntan cuántos años tengo… Tengo cuarenta y nueve.

I saw that you asked a lot of questions; I asked forty-one.

Vi que hiciste muchas preguntas, yo hice cuarenta y una.

OK, we’re about to do some more quizzing with even more forms of this verb, but first let’s look at another type of thing you might ask. Check out this sentence example:

They asked me if I was going to go.

Me preguntaron si iba a ir.

In this sentence, the indirect object is me, and the direct object is an entire phrase, “if I was going to go”. Remember that sometimes a phrase starting with que can function as a noun. That’s also true of si, which is very common with the verb Preguntar; the direct object is very often a si phrase. Try it yourself in this next example:

I’m going to ask them if she’s here.

Les voy a preguntar si ella está aquí.

All right, now let’s get some more practice with Preguntar, and we’ll incorporate some si phrases like this, as well as a wide variety of forms of this verb.

I was asking him that.

Le preguntaba eso.

You always ask the same thing.

Siempre preguntas lo mismo.

Ask this so we can know.

Pregunta esto para que podamos saber.

(Formal) Don’t ask me anything, please.

No me pregunte nada, por favor.

If she asks you, tell her that you don’t know.

Si te pregunta, dile que no sabes.

I don’t want him to ask her or he’ll know it.

No quiero que él le pregunte a ella o lo sabrá.

I always asked the same thing to my parents.

Siempre les preguntaba lo mismo a mis padres.

I didn’t ask because I didn’t know what the question was.

No pregunté porque no sabía cuál era la pregunta.

She wants me to ask you when your birthday is.

Ella quiere que yo te pregunte cuándo es tu cumpleaños.

Ask her if she has fifty or fifty one phones.

Pregúntale si tiene cincuenta o cincuenta y un teléfonos.

I always ask if we can rather have fifty-four.

Siempre pregunto si más bien podemos tener cincuenta y cuatro.

I won’t ask her if she is forty-five years old, that’s not nice.

No le preguntaré si tiene cuarenta y cinco años, eso no es bueno.

She is asking me this, that’s why I wanted to ask you.

Me está preguntando esto, por eso quería preguntarte.

You don’t have to ask me that; in fact, don’t ask me anything.

No tienes que preguntarme eso, de hecho, no me preguntes nada.

You haven’t asked me this before, so I don’t want you to ask me now.

No me has preguntado esto antes, así que no quiero que me preguntes ahora.

Here’s something else that’s important to note about asking: In English, we use the verb “ask” in more than one way. Sometimes we ask for information, and sometimes we ask for someone to do something for us. The verb Preguntar is only used when you’re asking for information. So for example, check out this English sentence:

She asked me to get to work early tomorrow.

In this case, she’s not asking me for information; instead, she’s asking me to do something. Preguntar is not used for requests; instead, there’s another verb for that, which we’ll learn tomorrow.

However, there is one more use of Preguntar that we should practice. See if you can tell what’s happening in this sentence:

Me pregunto si todavía están allí.

So this is literally “I ask myself if they’re still there.” But when I “ask myself” something, what I’m really doing is “wondering” if it’s true. This is how the pronominal version, Preguntarse, is used. Here’s another example:

She wondered if she needed to leave.

Se preguntaba si necesitaba irse.

Let’s practice a few uses of Preguntarse.

He wonders how he could do it.

Él se pregunta cómo podría hacerlo.

I asked myself that everyday when I was young.

Me preguntaba eso todos los días cuando era joven.

She was wondering why there were so many people in that place.

Se preguntaba por qué había tanta gente en ese lugar.

I wonder what I can do for her. Don’t you wonder the same thing?

Me pregunto qué puedo hacer por ella. ¿No te preguntas lo mismo?

For more practice with Preguntar, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/186. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

Don’t ask anything else, I already asked.

No preguntes nada más, yo ya pregunté.

I want her to ask him about the kids of today.

Quiero que le pregunte sobre los chicos de hoy en día.

I’ll ask him if he knows anything about this.

Le preguntaré si sabe algo sobre esto.

I wasn’t asking that, but that’s a good question.

No preguntaba eso, pero esa es una buena pregunta.

(Formal) Ask him if he’ll be here by Christmas.

Pregúntele si estará aquí para Navidad.

They always ask the same things that you ask.

Siempre preguntan lo mismo que tú preguntas.

Ask her if this is a sign.

Pregúntale si esto es una señal.

I wonder if she already did it.

Me pregunto si ella ya lo hizo.

If she asks you, tell her you don’t know.

Si te pregunta, dile que no sabes.

He was wondering if you were fifty-two years old.

Él se preguntaba si tenías cincuenta y dos años.

I don’t want you to ask me that again, you already asked.

No quiero que me preguntes eso otra vez, ya preguntaste.

We asked him if he wanted fifty-three or forty-six.

Le preguntamos si quería cincuenta y tres o cuarenta y seis.

We are asking the reason for this test.

Preguntamos el porqué de esta prueba.

You can ask him if he has any advice for the test.

Puedes preguntarle si tiene algún consejo para la prueba.

She wanted to ask you if that was a sign.

Ella quería preguntarte si eso era una señal.

She has asked me forty-one times, I don’t know the answer.

Me ha preguntado cuarenta y una veces, no sé la respuesta.

You have to ask them if they made a decision.

Les tienes que preguntar si tomaron una decisión.

Ask her what she wants for her future.

Pregúntale que quiere para su futuro.

I’m wondering that.

Me estoy preguntando eso.

If she doesn’t want me to ask, tell me.

Si ella no quiere que yo pregunte, dime.

They didn’t ask that, but she asked.

Ellos no preguntaron eso, pero ella preguntó.

You don’t have to ask me forty-seven times.

No tienes que preguntarme cuarenta y siete veces.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/186.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn the verb that means “to request” or “to ask for” something.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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