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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    Of him vs to him

    Hi guys,

    When this question was asked "of him" or "to him". You would say "of him" is correct but today I searched on internet that either can be used. "Of him" means when we want to talk about a person's private life or things and "to him" when we talk about non private things. Is it correct?

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Of him vs to him

    Neither is good. We don't ask questions of or to people.

    - You can ask favors of people.

    - You can tell answers to people. You can tell stories to people.

    - You can pose questions for people.

    I would say it this way: "When he was asked this question, . . . ."

    Or even better: "When I [or he, she, we, or they] asked him, . . . ."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: Of him vs to him

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    Hi guys,

    When this question was asked "of him" or "to him". You would say "of him" is correct but today I searched on internet that either can be used. "Of him" means when we want to talk about a person's private life or things and "to him" when we talk about non private things. Is it correct?
    Yes, you can "ask a question of someone", but not "to someone".

    I hear it used occasionally, and it does register in the corpus I checked. Here's a link to a report of an ABC interview with President Obama, where the expression "... not answering the questions asked of him" appears in the first paragraph:

    http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/jef...ial-filibuster

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Of him vs to him

    The expression "asked of him" is archaic. Many folk-songs have this form. There's an example in I loved a lass (in the third verse - hidden in the dialect "askit [='asked'] o' [='of'] me").

    b

    PS: If you want to use "to" someone, you put a question to them; but this can have an implication of hostility: An interviewer expecting to make a politician squirm might say "Let me put this question to you...". This hostility is quite like the courtroom expression 'I put it to you that your testimony is a pack of lies'.
    Last edited by BobK; 23-May-2016 at 16:59.
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    #5

    Re: Of him vs to him

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The expression "asked of him" is archaic
    I use it myself from time-to-time, and the corpus I looked at was hardly 'archaic', nor was the interview with Obama that I linked above. We could probably Google up some more recent attestations.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Of him vs to him

    I think I have probably used the expression.

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