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10 / 07 / 2007

PEDIR IN ENGLISH: meaning and examples

Good morning.

How would you translate the following Spanish sentences to English?

i) Pedí una hamburguesa con patatas para la comida.
ii) Pedí una bicicleta a Santa Clause.

The Spanish verb pedir (demanar in Catalan) can be translated as order (in a restaurant) or ask for (in other contexts).

Example 1:
I ordered a hamburger with chips for lunch.

Example 2:
I asked for a bicycle from Santa Clause.

Meaning of order: a request for food or drinks in a restaurant (Example 1) or to ask for goods or services to be made or supplied.

Meaning of ask for: to speak or write to someone because you want them to give you something (Example 2).

With these definitions in mind, you could use ask for in Example 1 and it would still sound okay.

Example 3:
I asked for a hamburger with chips for lunch.

However, using order in Example 2 sounds strange, since we don't normally order goods and services from Santa Clause or the Reyes Magos. They are not a business.

Example 4:
ordered a bicycle from Santa Clause. (??)

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website.

For more information about language related to ordering in a restaurant, see the Daily Vitamin from July 12, 2005. For information about the difference between ask and ask for, see the Daily Vitamin from September 6, 2005.

Have a nice day.

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