Ask is one of the commonest verbs in English. It is sometimes used incorrectly. The verb ask cannot be followed by the preposition to. It can be followed by either a direct or an indirect object.
Ask John. (Here ask is followed by the indirect object John.)
I want to ask a question. (Here ask is followed by the direct object ‘a question’.)
Note that the indirect object usually refers to a person and the direct object usually refers to a thing.
When ask is followed by two objects, the indirect object usually goes before the direct object.
Ask him his name. (NOT Ask his name to him.)
I want to ask you a question. (NOT I want to ask a question to you.)
Ask + indirect object can be followed by a clause beginning with a question word.
She asked me why I was crying. (NOT She asked to me why I was crying.)
Ask her what the matter is. (NOT Ask to her what the matter is.)
The cops asked the guy what he was doing there. (NOT The cops asked to the guy what he was doing there.)
It is a question that every self-respecting woman should ask herself.
Common phrases with ask
This expression is used to suggest that you do not want to discuss something because it is not good or pleasant.
‘How was the picnic?’ ‘Don’t ask.’
Don’t ask me
This expression is used to tell someone that you do not know the answer to their question.
‘Why did he quit that job?’ ‘Don’t ask me.’
For the asking
This expression is used to suggest that something is available if you ask for it.
There are jobs for the asking. (= Jobs are available if you ask for them.)