In German the verb fragen takes 2 direct objects. Is it the same in English?

I ask you something.

Or is the person being asked considered an indirect object?

If so, can I reformulate it using to?

I ask a question to you.

Also, are there examples for verbs that take two direct objects?

  • 1
    I ask a question of you.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Nov 18, 2013 at 14:20
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/90530/… Nov 18, 2013 at 14:42
  • 2
    They are not two direct objects, despite their case marking in German. The addressee is the indirect object, and the question is the direct object. I hypothesize that fragen allows doppelt Akkusativ in German (I don't know and you didn't give an example), but case is not function. It's a standard bitransitive communication verb, like say, tell, shout, inquire, etc. Nov 18, 2013 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


"Let me ask you a question" is probably the most common way to say this. This is basically the same construction as "I ask you a question." But you is not a direct object. When we say this, it implies that we are saying something more like, "Let me ask [to you] a question." Because the question is being addressed to a person, this would seem to be the most correct usage, but in English, this is very unnatural and awkward. "Let me ask a question [of you]." is acceptable, even though what we want of them is an answer, not a question. But this still is a bit odd. "Let me ask you a question" or "Let me ask you something" is far more common.

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