There appear to be three different words in Russian for the English word 'to ask': спрашивать, просить, and задавать. Are these synonyms, and if not, how are they different?

  • "Задавать" part is covered already by Nikolay's answer, the rest is covered in the duplicate question.
    – shabunc
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


спрашивать: "ask" as in inquire.

просить: "ask" as in politely or humbly request.

задавать: is not, on its own, a translation of "to ask", but you're clearly thinking of the phrase задавать вопрос, "pose a question". It's a little more formal and it's also what you use when you don't specify what the question is (as in "I asked you a question").

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