I'm not a native but I'm working as a writer, writing American gossip news. My boss told me that "Roger was asking for help to heavens." is a wrong sentence. What is wrong with it and what's the correct phrase? Because I've subscribed to grammarly and it didn't find any mistake on the grammar. Thanks before.

  • 1
    Ask does not take the infinitive to. However, when the intended meaning requires, it can take from. Your options are "Roger was asking the heavens for help." and "Roger was asking for help from the heavens." HTH.
    – Kris
    Dec 19 '18 at 7:27
  • Welcome to ELU. See also English Language Learners Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Dec 19 '18 at 7:27
  • I see now, that makes sense. Thank you for the help, I really appreciate it.
    – incognito
    Dec 19 '18 at 7:39
  • Add a determiner “the heavens”, and it might just work if Roger was a trainee pilot asking for help with flying.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 19 '18 at 8:07
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    Welcome to EL&U! As Kris points out, the English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a brilliant resource and may be worth your time. Since you state you're working as a writer, the Writing Stack Exchange may also be worth taking a look at. Dec 19 '18 at 8:32

Using the verb 'ask' with the preposition 'to' is not correct in this context. 'Ask' and its synonyms include the meaning of addressing another person. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ask

Use a different verb which does not necessarily include addressing another person.


"Roger cried for help to the heavens." "Roger shouted for help to the heavens."

A more natural way to say this would be:

"Roger cried to the heavens for help."

If you're going to use a verb like 'ask', 'beg', or 'request' or 'demand', you would say:

"Roger asked for help from the heavens." "Roger begged for help from the heavens." "Roger requested help from the heavens." "Roger demanded help from the heavens."

  • 1
    I see. Thank you for the help. I really appreciate it. <3
    – incognito
    Dec 19 '18 at 7:39
  • I'm glad I could help. English is tricky irregular language. I recommend reading fiction in English as much as possible so you can see examples and become accustomed to them.
    – TheLeopard
    Dec 19 '18 at 19:22

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