What is the past tense of asking?

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In a nutshell

asked or asked

Did he ask or ask? The question of the correct past tense of "ask" is one of the classics of orthography. Here is the answer in the form of a sonnet, also a classic.

The incorrigible

I was asked: "Do you mean asked or asked?"
I said: "I always choose, asked
Because instead of saying no talk ’sug,
Which was bad for the ear and the use of language. "

The other said: "I don't know what to do with it,
You don't say hit or carry? "
I said: “Exceptions are only struck and borne;
But tough, tough, pull and dared no one dared.

Now the doubt that so far has been gnawing you
And plagued - and not nug and plug -
Be resolved, whether asked correctly, whether asked? "

The other said: "You are right," and struck
Against his forehead, as if light was now day.
"Forgive me for asking so foolishly."
Author unknown, around 1900

In fact, only the weak conjugation of ask as standard language: He / she / it asked, asked. At this point, the thesis is often put forward that the form has developed from an older »frug« to today's »asked« - not infrequently with a lamenting undertone that the German language is becoming increasingly impoverished. In fact, the form "asked" is the older form, while the form "frug" represented an intermezzo from Low German, in a sense a "fashion form" that many poets of the 19th century liked to use. Here, the strong form »frug« was never exclusively valid, but always had the character of a (literary) subsidiary form that is still used in the regional language today.

Julian von Heyl on 01/14/13 | Comments (15) | Visits: 34473

Section briefly explained:

The German language is riddled with pitfalls. Here we address selected problem cases and provide brief explanations and definitions of spelling, grammar and practical application.


1 eddigeh

Well, then I want to complain. I love the strong verbs:

A little verse asked: "May I go upstairs ?!"

And whether its creator would succeed
to get him out of the crowd
"In the end you will praise me for it"

"You asked?" Said the poet. "Your application
is cheeky because other verses never asked
by no means be as cheeky as you are.
Well, I like strong verbs. "

So it is that little line
is at the top and no one should dare
to say this is nasty verse fraud

Oh, reader you, that's the cool thing,
He didn't ask. What can I say?
Cheers to him because he just dared!

Posted by eddigeh on 10/17/14 6:33 PM

2 Marco M.

I finally understand the difference between frug and asked.

Corrections.dee-eeh is the only page
I understand. :-)

Posted by Marco M. on 02/22/16 5:01 PM

3 msohni


As a South German I had never heard or read the form "frug" until I saw it for the first time in early facsimile copies of Karl May's texts in magazines from the 1880s, where he only wrote "frug". As early as 1992, in the so-called "Freiburg edition" of the "travel stories", this was then "asked".

Posted by msohni on 11/2/17 5:54 PM

4 straw

...now I'm smarter.
A friend once asked me what it is called correctly.?
I suggested he read it here.

Posted by GertStroh on 1/4/18 00:07 AM

5 Elisabeth Radicke

Yes, thanks for the info!
I can't pinpoint exactly when or where I first heard or read 'asked' and I feel as if it has always been like that, but I am for a context in which I can classify information to make it easier to remember always grateful.

Written by Elisabeth Radicke on 7/24/19 10:32 AM

6 BlankerHans

As a North German, I've never heard "frug". Until an audio book on vacation annoyed me to death with 100 x "asked" in the story! Thanks tokorkturen.de for the clarification.

Posted by BlankerHans on 7/28/19 5:51 PM

7 Guido

... I have only heard "question" from intellectually less well-cared for residents of the Bergisches Land ...
I "wondered" every time why they talk in such a way that every normal mortal's stomach turns.
One said to me: "'Frug' say the noble ones. 'Asked' is for the common people."
And that from a Wuppertal ...

Well then....

Written by Guido on 8/19/19 11:43 PM

8 Freng

But: pull - I pulled and not, I pulled :-))

Written by Freng on 10/1/19 3:41 PM

9 Walter

I speak Dutch, where 'vroeg' is also used for the past. 'Frug' sounds much nicer than 'asked'.
I love strong verbs. Do you remember the song of Rudy chic 'Fiorentine Nights'
..... and I asked who she is, her name was Raphaela .....
It's wonderful.

Written by Walter on 11/29/19 8:23 PM

10 Michaela

My daughter laughed at me today when I said "asked"!

Posted by Michaela on 4/16/20 7:05 PM

11 Kappeler Mathias

A short sentence in the Oberstdorf dialect:
If i sug des miecht i no lug i.
Standard German:
If I said I would, I would be lying.
The subjunctive of the dialect simplifies the language considerably.

Written by Kappeler Mathias on 5/28/20 10:33 PM

12 Beard

So I'm only up through a reader of my story
this verb has been made aware of me and also in
people around me "asked" themselves, and rightly so, why not
and if Karl May already used it, it is for a Saxon
but a must.

Written by Rauschebart on 4/8/21 1:30 PM

13 Thomas

The common Rhinelander would never actually get the idea to ask for "frug". Then it says: "fraachte" or "had jefrooch". In this respect, each region should ask how it wants. :-)

Posted by Thomas on 5/8/21 1:33 PM

14 Klaus

"Frug" is certainly not only used in my circle of acquaintances as an ironic, "elegant" past tense, knowing full well that this is not the correct form of inflection - at least not the contemporary one.

Posted by Klaus on 5/20/21 11:55 AM

15 Katrin

My 62 year old friend from Osnabrück has always used the forms "frug" and "buk". She feels "asked" and "baked" as wrong.

Posted by Katrin on 5/20/21 3:30 PM

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