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I was drafting a mail to the IT Department of my university when this question hit me. Do I need for? If I don't actually need it, is it really wrong?

  1. I request the necessary changes to be made
  2. I request for the necessary changes to be made
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The first thing to state is that we are talking about request as a verb.

Overall request for is the most used collocation in books. Consider this ngram. Of course, these are primarily uses of request as a noun, where the collocation with for is very common.

If you use request as a verb then you shouldn't use for. The collocation with for is very unusual for the verb form as this ngram shows.

As WS2 has pointed out in the verb usage the for is implied.

request VERB Politely or formally ask for - ODO

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  • I think your NGram is highly misleading. Almost every single one of the hits for request for will be noun contexts. And when I force the verb context by searching for he requested for, it seems most hits are probably contexts like [the favour that] he requested for [himself]. Sep 5 '16 at 13:39
  • @FumbleFingers of course it does, I pointed that out in the next sentence and gave the verb request ngram as well.
    – Helmar
    Sep 5 '16 at 13:41
  • oic. I misunderstood your first sentence, and then didn't read the rest properly. But it seems OP is only asking about the verb context, so arguably your point about a request for help being a perfectly natural noun usage should really only have been posted as a comment (to the question itself, or to @WS2's answer, which seems fine to me). Sep 5 '16 at 13:52
  • @FumbleFingers rereading it I agree, that it's not as clear as I intended it. You're right about it unclearly addressing another answer. I'll clear it up.
    – Helmar
    Sep 5 '16 at 13:58
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With request, one never uses for. One requests someone to come to see you. One requests a cup of tea.

As regards ask (unless you are from the Tyne or Wear district of north-east England) omit the for.

If, however, you are asking for an object (even abstract one) then use for. E.g. if you are thirsty ask for a drink. But ask someone to make you a drink.

You could ask someone for their thoughts. But you would ask them to think about the matter.

In other words if the verb ask precedes an infinitive of a verb, you drop the for - (unless you are a Geordie).

But you **NEVER request for

Is that understandable?

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  • 'Request' means the same as 'ask for' - we don't say 'request for'. Sep 5 '16 at 10:03
  • None of the versions of this question mention ask at all. They all use request.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 5 '16 at 10:07
  • My apologies @Andrew Leach, for misreading the question. I think it was just that so many people confuse when to say ask and when ask for, that I mentally identified it in that way. I have substantially edited my answer.
    – WS2
    Sep 5 '16 at 10:16
  • You could always use "I request that the necessary changes be made". A bit more old fashioned perhaps but then I'm getting on a bit.
    – BoldBen
    Sep 5 '16 at 10:23

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