Pedir followed by El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo to ask someone to do something

To ask someone to do something in Spanish, we normally use the verb pedir (to ask in this context). This is how it works if we express it in El Pretérito Imperfecto, El Pretérito Indefinido or El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto:

De pequeña, yo siempre pedía a mis padres que me dejaran ver la tele hasta tarde.
When I was little, I always used to ask my parents to let me watch TV until late.

El ladrón me pidió que le diera todo mi dinero.
The thief asked me to give him all my money.

Susana nos había pedido que cuidásemos de su hija.
Susana has asked us to look after her daughter.

Notice how in English what is asked is expressed with an infinitive:

"The thief asked me to give him all my money"

while in Spanish we use El Imperfecto Subjuntivo, after "que":

"El ladrón me pidió que le diera/diese todo mi dinero."

The verb in El Imperfecto Subjuntivo after que will be conjugated in the person who is asked, in this case "I" (The thief asked me...) 

Careful: You cannot omit "que"

With "pedir" you will generally find an indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, nos, os, les) in this type of sentence as one normally asks "someone" to do something, e.g "me pidió que...""les había pedido que..." or an indirect object always using "a", e.g "Ella pedía a su hermano que...", "yo nunca pedí Antonio que...". In English there is no need to use a preposition: "He asked Laura..." but in Spanish you do need "a""Le pidió a Laura que...".

Be careful not to use the verb "preguntar" (to ask) in this context. You cannot say: "Mi novio me preguntó que fuera/fuese paciente con él."

Here are other examples:

¿Clara os pidió que donaseis algo para su ONG?
Did Clara ask you to donate something to her NGO?

El profesor había pedido a sus padres que viniesen al colegio urgentemente.
The teacher had asked his parents to come to the school urgently.

Yo antes nunca te pedía que me ayudaras, pero ahora te necesito.
I never used to ask you to help me, but I need you now.

Remember:

Pedir (in most past tenses) + [a alguien] + que + verb in El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

See also Pedir followed by El Presente de Subjuntivo to ask someone to do something

Also remember that in Spanish there are two possible conjugations for El Imperfecto Subjuntivo. To revise this see Conjugate verbs in El Imperfecto de Subjuntivo

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

El ladrón me pidió que le diera todo mi dinero.
The thief asked me to give him all my money.


¿Clara os pidió que donaseis algo para su ONG?
Did Clara ask you to donate something to her NGO?


De pequeña, yo siempre pedía a mis padres que me dejaran ver la tele hasta tarde.
When I was little, I always used to ask my parents to let me watch TV until late.


Yo antes nunca te pedía que me ayudaras, pero ahora te necesito.
I never used to ask you to help me, but I need you now.


El profesor había pedido a sus padres que viniesen al colegio urgentemente.
The teacher had asked his parents to come to the school urgently.


Susana nos había pedido que cuidásemos de su hija.
Susana has asked us to look after her daughter.


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