I wonder whether “ask” can be used as verb in past or present perfect tense. I used “I have asked something from somebody” in email, but this sentence sounds a little weird to me. So I want to check whether the grammar is right.

  • 3
    Hello Thomson Tan, would you please provide more context? Where do you need to use it? What sentence? For what purpose? The more info you provide, the better the help you'll receive. :)
    – Alenanno
    Jun 11 '11 at 16:08
  • @Alenanno, thanks for your advice. I updated my post. Jun 11 '11 at 16:11
  • If I was to criticize the sentence, it would be the use of 'from'. For example, I would probably have written "I have asked something of somebody" or "I have asked somebody about something", where I'm assuming there would be an appropriate phrase in place of 'something', especially in the first alternative. Jun 11 '11 at 23:46

The example in your question uses the present perfect tense, and you ask about past perfect. Anyway, either is fine:

I have asked that question before. [Present perfect]

I had asked that question before. [Past perfect]

Either usage is fine and grammatical.

  • Thanks Robusto. Thanks for your clarification. I will correct the typo in my post. Jun 11 '11 at 16:29
  • As far as I know, you need an additional clause for past perfect.
    – nyuszika7h
    Apr 28 '14 at 13:38

I think what sounds wrong isn't the verb tense, it's the preposition and word order. I don't like using sth. and sb. so I'll say apples or question. You can say

I have asked Jonathan for apples.

I have asked for apples.

I have asked Jonathan a question.

I have asked Jonathan how to fix the server.

but not

*I have asked apples from Jonathan.


I have asked for apples from Jonathan.

doesn't mean that you asked Jonathan; it means that you asked somebody unspecified for apples that come from Jonathan.

  • 1
    +1 There's also I have asked much of you. Jun 11 '11 at 16:31
  • +1 for using Jonathan, which is a type of apple IIRC.
    – nyuszika7h
    Apr 28 '14 at 13:40

It depends on the context of the sentence. The present perfect implies that what is being described has some kind of present relevance, consequence, or otherwise has something to do with a question or issue under discussion. The past perfect is similar, except that the consequence or relevance is to some issue being discussed in the past. If your intent to is simply say that you did ask, you might be better off using the simple past.


In a situation where you do not want to reveal what you asked for or from whom, your statement is only missing "for" in front of "something": I have asked for something from somebody.


"I have asked a question" is a correct, grammatical sentence which expresses something that happened at an unspecified time in the past. The exact time at which you asked the question is not important, otherwise you could have used the past, present, or future tense. The use of this tense shows that the effect or result of asking the question is influencing the present time.

Another example to make it clear, when someone asks you to drink or eat something and your answer is "I have just eaten" because no one is interested in the time. It is only you don't want to eat or can't eat again so it is the result rather than…

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