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‎What are the differences between these sentences ?

1.I asked him on an opinion.

it sounds like I wanted to know his thinking directly related to an opinion for a long time.

2.I asked him about an opinion

it sounds like I wanted to know his thinking both directly and indirectly related to an opinion for a long time.

3.I asked him of an opinion.

It sounds like I wanted to know his evaluation on the quality of an opinion for a short time.

4.I asked an opinion of him.

it sounds like I required him to give his opinion.

5.I asked him an opinion.

it sounds like I gave him an opinion so as either to hear his thinking of, about or on an opinion OR to have a talk with him on an opinion.

6.I asked him for an opinion.

it sounds like either I required him to give an opinion(presumably in this case an opinion should be his opinion) or I required him to speak of or about an opinion, or I required him to talk with me on an opinion.

This sentence shouldn't be used widely, because of corruption of a variety of interpretations.

  1. I asked him over an opinion.

it sounds like I wanted to know his thinking broadly for a long time.

I think this post would be very helpful for learners to grasp the tiny differences between their meanings.

  • You normally ask someone for [something you want them to give to you]. Asking it of them is a bit stylised / poetic / dated. – FumbleFingers Oct 9 '18 at 17:40
  • No1 is incorrect. You ask someone for his/her opinion. Asking someone their opinion is also acceptable, but not as common. You ask someone about (or less frequently, over) an (i.e., someone else's) opinion. You probably never ask someone on something, except perhaps on a train. No. 3 is incorrect. – Sara Oct 9 '18 at 17:52
  • No. 4 is incorrect, or at least awkward. When you ask something of someone, you demand that they do it: You have no right to ask anything of me. No.5 is incorrect: You ask someone something when you need an an answer, information or a solution for something that doesn't belong to the person asked: He asked me a lot of questions / asked me the way out. – Sara Oct 9 '18 at 17:54
  • No. 6 is the only grammatical and natural sounding sentence of them all. – Jason Bassford Oct 10 '18 at 3:23
2

For the meaning of "wanting to know someone's thoughts about something" the only good sentence is (6).


Let's look at the ungrammatical ones

(1) I asked him on an opinion.

(3) I asked him of an opinion.

(7) I asked him over an opinion.

Each of these sentences is ungrammatical. The prepositions used don't work in context.

(5) I asked him an opinion.

This is also unacceptable. In this construction, the sentence has the meaning of I asked an opinion to him. Now, you can't ask an opinion, it doesn't make sense. "An opinion" becomes the direct object...and opinion doesn't make sense as the object of "ask".


Now let's look at some of the correct, but odd sentences.

(2) I asked him about an opinion

This is a correct sentence, but it doesn't quite mean what you think. In this sentence, it's assumed you already know the opinion, and you are looking for more information surrounding it—for example, the reasons for it.

(4) I asked an opinion of him.

This is an acceptable sentence, but again, the meaning is slightly different than what you give. It doesn't mean so much that you required him to give his opinion, but rather that you expected him to.

  • Then, how about to rewrite (1) (3) (7) as (1)I asked him, on the story, (3)I asked him, of the story, (7)I asked him, over the story. ? – SinK Oct 10 '18 at 7:40
  • Those prepositions just are not really "acceptable" with "asked" except in certain fixed phrases, I think. For example, "I asked him on a date". I can't think of a sentence with "I asked him of..." and the only sentence I can think of with "over" is "I asked him over" or "I asked him over to my house", but both of those are somewhat rare, even though I think they're acceptable. – brh543 Oct 10 '18 at 7:43

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