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Ask vs Request vs Solicit

Ask, Request and Solicit mean to seek to obtain by making one’s wants or desires known.

Ask implies expectation of a response, often an affirmative response.

  • I am going to ask a favor of you
  • he asked the close attention of all his audience
  • ask the citizens for their full cooperation

Request carries a suggestion of greater courtesy and formality in the manner of asking and is preferable to ask when one feels that what one wants may not be granted, whether for lack of power or means or from lack of interest on the other side or when one wishes to be exceedingly polite or ingratiating.

  • request a loan
  • request the presence of a person at a reception
  • requesting an opportunity to present their opinions

Solicit (compare BEG) seldom implies earnest entreaty or urging; its most common suggestion is that of calling attention to one’s wants and desires in the hope of having them satisfied.

  • a merchant solicits trade by means of letters, or handbills, or advertisements in journals
  • a magazine solicits subscriptions when it sends an agent to interview possible subscribers