Demander in French: From Seeking Information to Making Requests, Unveiling the Versatility of a Simple Verb

In the French language, verbs play a pivotal role in expressing our thoughts, desires, and actions. One such verb is “demander,” which translates to “to ask” in English. It is a versatile verb that can be used in various contexts to inquire, request, or seek information. In this blog post, we will delve into the different ways “demander” can be used and provide examples to help you understand its usage.

  1. Asking for Information:
    The most common usage of “demander” is to ask for information or clarification. Here are some examples:
    • Pouvez-vous me demander l’heure, s’il vous plaît ? (Can you ask me the time, please?)
    • Je demande à mon collègue où se trouve la salle de réunion. (I ask my colleague where the meeting room is.)
    • Elle demande à son professeur comment faire cet exercice. (She asks her teacher how to do this exercise.)
  2. Requesting Something:
    “Demander” can also be used to request something from someone. Consider the following examples:
    • Je te demande de m’aider avec mes devoirs. (I am asking you to help me with my homework.)
    • Elle demande à son ami de lui prêter de l’argent. (She asks her friend to lend her some money.)
    • Nous demandons à nos parents de nous emmener au cinéma. (We ask our parents to take us to the cinema.)
  3. Demanding or Ordering:
    In certain situations, “demander” can take on a more assertive tone, indicating a demand or order. Here are a few examples:
    • Le chef demande à ses employés de terminer le projet avant la fin de la journée. (The boss demands that his employees finish the project by the end of the day.)
    • Il demande à ses enfants de ranger leur chambre immédiatement. (He orders his children to tidy their room right away.)
    • L’officier demande au soldat de se mettre au garde-à-vous. (The officer orders the soldier to stand at attention.)
  4. Inquiring about Preferences or Opinions:
    Moreover, “demander” can be used to inquire about someone’s preferences or opinions. Consider these examples:
    • Je lui demande s’il préfère le café ou le thé. (I ask him if he prefers coffee or tea.)
    • Marc demande à Marie ce qu’elle pense du film. (Marc asks Marie what she thinks of the movie.)
    • Les parents demandent à leurs enfants ce qu’ils aimeraient faire pendant les vacances. (The parents ask their children what they would like to do during the holidays.)

The French verb “demander” is a fundamental tool for communication, enabling us to seek information, make requests, or express demands. By understanding its various uses and practicing with examples, you can incorporate “demander” seamlessly into your French conversations. Remember to pay attention to the context and tone, as it can influence the meaning of the verb. So, keep practicing and using “demander” in your daily conversations, and soon enough, you’ll become fluent in expressing your inquiries, requests, and opinions in French!