[Grammar] Ask for something (structure)

nininaz

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Italian
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
India
Please consider the following:


"All I am asking for is to be given a chance."

What was the main form or structure of sentence above before in rearranged? (before it was used in noun clause form)

I found only the following structure by looking up in some dictionaries:
"ask for somebody something" or "ask somebody to do something".
NOT "ask for somebody to do something" (we don't have this structure in any dictionaries)

But I don't know why did the writer use 'to do something' ?
It is a bit confusing.
 
Last edited:

teechar

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Iraq
Current Location
Iraq
Please consider the following:

"All I am asking for is to be given a chance."

What was the main form or structure of the sentence above before [STRIKE]in[/STRIKE] it was rearranged? (before it was used in noun clause form)

I found only the following structure by looking up in some dictionaries:
"ask for somebody something" or "ask somebody to do something".
NOT"ask for somebody to do something" (we don't have this structure in any dictionaries)

But I don't know why [STRIKE]did[/STRIKE] the writer used 'to do something'.
It is a bit confusing.

Take a look at explanation #2.2 for "ask" as a verb in the link below.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/ask

If you still need help, post back.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
The verb used here is: to ask for something

The structure of the sentence is a little unusual. You can understand the phrase to be given a chance as functioning like an noun phrase (i.e. 'the thing I'm asking for'.) So the sentence has three parts -- SVO:

All I'm asking for (S)
is (V)
to be given a chance.
(O)

It's possible, but less natural, to reverse the sentence, like this:

To be given a chance
(S)
is
(V)
all I'm asking for.
(O)
 

nininaz

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Italian
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
India
The verb used here is: to ask for something

The structure of the sentence is a little unusual. You can understand the phrase to be given a chance as functioning like an noun phrase (i.e. 'the thing I'm asking for'.) So the sentence has three parts -- SVO:

All I'm asking for (S)
is (V)
to be given a chance.
(O)

It's possible, but less natural, to reverse the sentence, like this:

To be given a chance
(S)
is
(V)
all I'm asking for.
(O)

Thanks dear teacher.
Can the following analysis be correct?
Base sentence:
I am asking for someone to give me a chance.
Now, If I want to use the relative clause:
All that I am asking for is someone to give me a chance.
And If I want to use the above in passive sense:
All that I am asking for is to be given a chance by someone.
or
All that I am asking for is to be given a chance by someone.

Now, the structure "Ask for somebody to do something" cannot be found in any dictionaries, so I don't know if the above analysis is correct or not?
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
to ask for somebody to do something is not correct English. It is an incorrect confusion of the two structures:

to ask for something
to ask somebody to do something


Be careful you don't mix them. Your example sentence uses the first one. In your sentence:

I am asking for someone to give me a chance.

the "someone to give me a chance" is the 'something' part.

(Your analysis is good, by the way.)
 

Phaedrus

Key Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
to ask for somebody to do something is not correct English
That structure is correct, actually, with the meaning "to ask that somebody do something." Notice that the lower clause is very naturally passivized: "to ask for something to be done." Nininaz's sentence:
"All I am asking for is to be given a chance."
should lose the "for." It should read: "All I am asking is to be given a chance." That sentence is a kind of cleft of "I am (only) asking to be given a chance." "For" would be used if the lower clause had a subject different from the subject of the matrix clause, as would be the case if the lower clause were active rather than passive: "I am (only) asking for them to give me a chance." / "All I am asking is for them to give me a chance."
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
That structure is correct, actually, with the meaning "to ask that somebody do something."

Right. I thought it might be too complicated for nininaz to mention this.

Nininaz's sentence: should lose the "for." It should read: "All I am asking is to be given a chance." That sentence is a kind of cleft of "I am (only) asking to be given a chance." "For" would be used if the lower clause had a subject different from the subject of the matrix clause, as would be the case if the lower clause were active rather than passive: "I am (only) asking for them to give me a chance." / "All I am asking is for them to give me a chance."

I think the sentence needs for to complete its sense. I don't like I'm asking to be given a chance, even though many people I think would say it. If you ask something, the something is the thing you're asking, i.e. a question. If you ask for something, the something is the thing you want, e.g. a chance.

I agree that the preferred active structure is to ask for somebody to do something. So, even though the original is clearly intelligible, there are three ways, then, in which I would improve it:

All I'm asking is for you to give me a chance.
All I'm asking is that you give me a chance.
All I want is to be given a chance.
 

Phaedrus

Key Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I think the sentence needs for to complete its sense. I don't like I'm asking to be given a chance, even though many people I think would say it.
Surely you wouldn't say, * I'm asking for to be given a chance . What if we changed the progressive to the simple? I ask to be given a chance.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Surely you wouldn't say, * I'm asking for to be given a chance .

No, I definitely would not say that.

What if we changed the progressive to the simple? I ask to be given a chance.

I think that's acceptable, yes, as is the progressive form. I'm just saying I don't like it so I would phrase it in a different way, that's all.
 

Phaedrus

Key Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Nininaz: Base sentence:
I am asking for someone to give me a chance.
Now, If I want to use the relative clause:
All that I am asking for is someone to give me a chance.
You have "for" in the wrong place in the second sentence. It should be after "is": All that I am asking is for someone to give me a chance.
Nininaz: And If I want to use the above in passive sense:
All that I am asking for is to be given a chance by someone.
"For" is again in the wrong place, but should actually be deleted from that sentence, because we can't say either *I am asking for me to be given a chance or *All I am asking is for me to be given a chance. If the two clauses didn't have the same subject, however, "for" would be fine -- in the right place: I am asking for him to be given a chance; He is asking for me to be given a chance. But your sentences should be I am asking to be given a chance (by someone). and All (that) I am asking is to be given a chance (by someone).
Nininaz: Now, the structure "Ask for somebody to do something" cannot be found in any dictionaries
Definition 4b ("To make a request for. Often used with an infinitive or clause") at The Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ask) is one that applies, though the closest example (asked to go along on the trip) isn't an absolutely perfect illustration of the structure you've asked about, which is not a request for permission or an order but something between the two: a request that something occur. If I ask to go along on the trip, I am asking for permission. If I ask to be allowed to go along on the trip, however, I am using your structure: I am asking that I be allowed (by someone) to go along on the trip, just as I could ask that John be allowed to go along on the trip by saying, I am asking for John to be allowed to go along on the trip.
 
Top