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4 Ways To Use Demander (To ask for/to) in French

4 Ways To Use Demander (To ask for/to) in French

Many times over the years students in my private lessons have expressed confusion over the verb demander, which means “to ask for” and “to ask to”. Specifically, the grammatical structures for this verb can be tricky, which I’ll explain with as few words as possible in today’s lesson. Keep reading.


to ask for, to ask to

French lesson explaining how to use the verb demander (to ask for, to ask to)

Demander – to ask in French

Listen to the podcast of today’s lesson!

Word origin

According to, demander (to ask) in French comes from the Latin verb demandare (to entrust).

Present tense conjugation

Demander is a regular ER verb. This means that its endings are the same as all other regular ER verbs when conjugated in the present tense.

Je demande I ask
Tu demandes You ask (singular, informal)
Il, elle demande He, she asks
Nous demandons We ask
Vous demandez You ask (plural, formal)
Ils, elles demandent They ask

Example sentences

This first example sentence uses the structure: demander + thing + à + person; to ask somebody for something. Unlike English, the word order is flipped. The thing you’re asking for comes first then add the person.

Je demande un livre à ma fille.

I ask my daughter for a book.

This second example sentence uses the structure: demander à + person + de + take action (verb); to ask somebody to do something. For this stucture, the word order is the same as English.

Je demande à mon mari de mettre la table.

I ask my husband to set the table.

In French, the verb demander can also be followed by a noun (or direct object). To ask for + blank. To ask for the time, for example, is demander l’heure. This example sentence uses the word chemin, which can translate to path, way and road.

Je suis perdu. Je dois demander le chemin.

I’m lost. I have to ask the way.

Se demander – to wonder

As reflexive verb, se demander means “to wonder”. Hence, je me demande translates literally to “I ask myself”.

Je me demande pourquoi le français est tellement difficile.

I wonder why French is so difficult.


Et voilà ! C’est la fin de la leçon ! Now you know how to use demander (to ask) in French. Now check our our related lesson covering the verb poser. This verb translates literally to “to put” but also means “to ask” in the context of asking questions.

Je demande un croissant au boulanger. = I ask the baker for a croissant.
Je demande un croissant au boulanger. = I ask the baker for a croissant.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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