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How do 问 and 让 differ in meaning and in what sort of situations would you use either of them?

In chinese.yabla.com there are a lot of different verbs with the meaning 'to ask'.

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"问" means "ask (about something)".

"叫" means "ask/call (to do something)".

"让" means "let", including the figurative usage of "make" as in "你们都来了让我很开心" ("It makes me (i.e. lets me be) very happy that you all came") and "我去让他來道歉" ("I'll go and make him to come and apologize"). It is incorrect to say that "让" ever means "ask (to do something)". If we wanted to say that, we would use "叫".

English does not have as much of this figurative use of "let", but there are some traces such as in "I will let him taste his own medicine!".

In fact, we can prove that "让" cannot mean "ask (to do something)", since "我不会让他来" ("I will not let him come") is totally different from "我不会叫他来" ("I will not call him to come")!

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  • 问 = ask (to answer question) e.g. 问他今年多大 - Ask him how old he is (It is a question I want to know the answer)

  • 让 = ask (to do something; request; demand) e.g. 我去让他來道歉 - I'll go ask him to apologize (ask here is actually a request or demand) - 让 (ask) here is the same as (make)

Just remember 问 = ask a question; 让 = ask someone to do something.

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