Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (2023)

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (1)

June 4, 2021 by Luis F. Dominguez Spanish Grammar 0 comments

Some Spanish verbs can get confusing at times, especially due to their similarities with other verbs, which is the case of ordenar and pedir. These two verbs seem to work in the same situations, but is that always the case?

So, the big question is: what’s the difference between the Spanish verbs ordenar and pedir? And, what does preguntar have to do with any of them?

Keep reading to discover the answer to these and other questions that I’m discussing with you today. For example, what are the meanings of these three verbs, what’s the difference between them? When you should use each one, and how to conjugate them. You’ll have the chance to test your understanding of this lesson with a simple quiz at the end of it. Good luck!

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (2)

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Ordenar vs Pedir

Sometimes in Spanish, you get two verbs that appear to mean the same thing or have the same function, but when having a closer look at them you can see the little differences between them. You can read a good example of this in the article Saber vs Conocer: Get to Know These Spanish Verbs.

Ordenar vs Pedir is another case of two Spanish verbs playing similar roles but with small subtleties that only natives or advanced Spanish students know how to use them properly. And now you, once you finish reading this post!

Pedir vs Preguntar

Before getting directly into the differences between ordenar and pedir, let me introduce another level to our conversation. Because once you include pedir in the discussion, it’s almost mandatory to bring preguntar too.

These three verbs: ordenar, pedir, preguntar, are closely intertwined and native Spanish speakers use them indistinctly many times but also use them to express completely different ideas. Let’s see how they do this, and learn when you can use ordenar, perdir, or preguntar, and when is better to use one of these Spanish verbs over the other.

Ordenar vs Pedir vs Preguntar, Which Verb Should You Use?

If you aren’t familiarized with these 3 Spanish verbs, maybe you don’t see the problem. Let me explain by showing you the translations of these verbs:

  • Ordenar – to order, to command, to sort.
  • Pedir – to ask, to ask for, to request.
  • Preguntar – to ask.

There you can see the chain of meanings that creates confusion with these verbs. To order, to request, to ask for, to ask. “To order” is very similar in meaning to “to request” and even “to ask for,” as you can “order” your dinner or “ask for” your dinner. You can also “ask” for help, and “ask” a question.

Meaning and Conjugation of These 3 Spanish Verbs

The best way to understand the differences between ordenar, pedir, and preguntar, is to analyze them separately to fully grasp the function and meaning of each verb.


Ordenar means “to command,” “to sort,” or “to order.” It’s this last meaning that creates confusion on so many Spanish learners because natives use ordenar “to order” their food at a restaurant, or “to order” a package from an online shop, for example.

The Spanish verb ordenar is used to give commands:

Te ordeno que te detengas.
I command you to stop.

To express an idea of sorting something out or cleaning a space:

Estoy ordenando mi cuarto.
I’m cleaning my room. (I’m sorting the mess I had in my room.)

To order for something:

¿Están listos para ordenar?
Are you ready to order?

You can instinctively feel that hidden in this last example may lay the root of the confusion. Although, in this case, ordenar is used in the sense of “to order,” you can see that in its origins ordenar could be understood as “giving a command” to your waiter.

As in:

Te ordeno que me traigas mi cena.
I order you to bring me my dinner.

These days, nobody would speak like that to a waiter, it’s rude and even offensive. But linguistically explains this use of the verb ordenar, especially if you consider that “the order” in Spanish means la orden or “the command.”

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (3)

Ordenar Conjugation Set


yo ordenoI order
tú ordenasyou order
él/ella ordenahe/she orders
nosotros ordenamoswe order
ustedes ordenanyou order
ellos/ellas ordenanthey order


For all the examples on this post, I’m using the verbs in the sense that lends to confusion with the other two verbs. This way you can see the little differences in their use.

Ellos ordenan una computadora nueva en línea.
They order a new computer online.

¿Ordenas la comida por favor?
Can you order the food, please?


yo ordenéI ordered
tú ordenasteyou ordered
él/ella ordenóhe/she ordered
nosotros ordenamoswe ordered
ustedes ordenaronyou ordered
ellos/ellas ordenaronthey ordered


Ordené esta mochila hace mucho tiempo.
I ordered this backpack a long time ago.

Nosotros ordenamos antes que ellos.
We ordered before them.


yo ordenaréI will order
tú ordenarásyou will order
él/ella ordenaráhe/she will order
nosotros ordenaremoswe will order
ustedes ordenarányou will order
ellos/ellas ordenaránthey will order


Ordenaré las flores para mamá.
I’ll order the flowers for mom.

¿Crees que Carlos ordenará algo para cenar?
Do you think Carlos will order something for dinner?

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (4)


Pedir means “to ask,” “to ask for,” or “to request.” In Spanish, it’s a straightforward verb, its confusion arises when ordenar is used in the sense of “to order,” which is a function played by pedir too.

¿Puedes ordenar la comida?/¿Puedes pedir la comida?
Can you order the food?

Both questions in Spanish mean exactly the same. Hence the confusion among non-natives. Ordenar may convey a meaning more of a command, while pedir is a simple petition. You wouldn’t “order” for a favor, you “ask” for a favor.

(Video) Pedir vs Preguntar, to ask in Spanish, learn when to use each

The difference between ordenar and pedir is one of power, authority, and politeness. Ordenar implies that someone has authority over someone else to command them to do something. On the other hand, pedir is a polite way of asking someone to do that same thing voluntarily. However, in the sense of ordering food or ordering a product online, you can use ordenar and pedir indistinctly. No waiter will get offended because you command him to bring you your dinner.

Pedir Conjugation Set

Although the confusion with the verb ordenar comes with the translation “to order,” I’m staying with the most used translation of pedir which is “to ask,” to try to give you the most accurate image of this verb.


yo pidoI ask
tú pidesyou ask
él/ella pidehe/she asks
nosotros pedimoswe ask
ustedes pidenyou ask
ellos/ellas pidenthey ask


In these examples, I’m including one case when pedir can be used as ordenar and understood as “to order,” and one with his more common use of “to ask.”

Ella siempre pide un capuccino.
She always orders a cappuccino.

¿Te pido un favor?
Can I ask you a favor?


yo pedíI asked
tú pedisteyou asked
él/ella pidióhe/she asked
nosotros pedimoswe asked
ustedes pidieronyou asked
ellos/ellas pidieronthey asked


Mis hermanos pidieron una habitación con vista al mar.
My brothers asked for a room with an ocean view.

¿Pediste mi café?
Did you order my coffee?


yo pediréI will ask
tú pedirásyou will ask
él/ella pediráhe/she will ask
nosotros pediremoswe will ask
ustedes pedirányou will ask
ellos/ellas pediránthey will ask


Erika pedirá al director que la cambie de grupo.
Erika will ask the principal to change her to a different group.

¿Ustedes pedirán pizza o pasta?
Will you order pizza or pasta?


Another source of confusion with these verbs comes from the two English meanings of the verb “to ask.” Here, I have to say, the origin of the problem is in the English language, not in Spanish (or at least that’s how it looks from the perspective of a native Spanish speaker). However, the confusion is the same for native English speakers learning Spanish nonetheless.

The issue here is that in Spanish, we use two verbs for what in English you use only one: “to ask.”

pedir – to ask (for something)

preguntar – to ask (a question)

However, the confusion is mainly formal, because although it’s true that the verb used is the same (to ask), in practice, it’s used in very different contexts. Pedir is used to ask for something, to request, to “make a petition.” So, when do you use preguntar? Well, preguntar always refers to questions.

Preguntar Conjugation Set


yo preguntoI ask
tú preguntasyou ask
él/ella preguntahe/she asks
nosotros preguntamoswe ask
ustedes preguntanyou ask
ellos/ellas preguntanthey ask


Mis amigos preguntan por ti.
My friends ask about you.

¿Preguntas a tu padre cuánto pagó por esta camisa?
Can you ask your father how much he paid for this shirt?

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (5)


yo preguntéI asked
tú preguntasteyou asked
él/ella preguntóhe/she asked
nosotros preguntamoswe asked
ustedes preguntaronyou asked
ellos/ellas preguntaronthey asked


Te pregunté que cómo te llamas.
I asked you what your name is.

¿Ustedes preguntaron por esta casa?
Did you ask about this house?


yo preguntaréI will ask
tú preguntarásyou will ask
él/ella preguntaráhe/she will ask
nosotros preguntaremoswe will ask
ustedes preguntarányou will ask
ellos/ellas preguntaránthey will ask


La próxima vez que vaya a la escuela, preguntaré por el profesor Mario.
Next time I go to the school, I’ll ask about professor Mario.

Si no voy a casa, mis hermanas se preguntarán dónde estoy.
If I don’t go home, my sisters will ask themselves where I can be.

Advanced Spanish Verbs Quiz

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (6)

Test your new advanced Spanish verbs skills with this free interactive quiz!

Fill in the blank:

1. Ayer _____ el nuevo libro de Harry Potter por internet.

Correct! Wrong!

(Video) The Spanish verb PEDIR - TO ASK in the present + past + phrases .Learn Spanish With Pablo.

2. Mañana _____ al profesor si puedo repetir el examen.

Correct! Wrong!

3. ¿ _____ el videojuego que me prometiste?

Correct! Wrong!

4. ¿_____ una pizza para cenar?

Correct! Wrong!

5. ¿_____ a tu mamá si encontró mi pulsera en tu casa?

Correct! Wrong!

(Video) Preguntar Vs. Pedir (2 Ways to Say “To Ask” in Spanish)

6. El próximo año ______ un aumento de sueldo.

Correct! Wrong!

7. La semana pasada ellos _____ un sillón nuevo por internet.

Correct! Wrong!

8. ¿Te _____ una limonada por favor?

Correct! Wrong!

9. Mañana _____ a papá si quiere venir con nosotros

Correct! Wrong!

10. ¿Ya _____ la cuenta?

Correct! Wrong!

(Video) 02 Pedir, Servir and Traer in the Preterite

Advanced Spanish Verbs Quiz

Wow, you've mastered the use of ordenar, pedir, and preguntar in Spanish! Good job!

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (7)

You've got a solid understanding of how to use ordenar, pedir, and preguntar in Spanish and the quality of your Spanish conversations are exploding through the roof!

You've almost mastered the use of ordenar, pedir, and preguntar in Spanish! Your consistent practice is leading to better results!

Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (8)

As you keep up your hard work and practice, you're starting to understand better how to use ordenar, pedir, and preguntar in Spanish! For more study materials, keep up-to-date with our newest published blog posts at Homeschool Spanish Academy. *YOU'RE ALMOST THERE! You can do it!* Do you prefer learning with videos? Check out our YouTube channel Spanish Academy TV for the best Spanish learning content on the web!

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Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? (9)

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Ordenar, Pedir, Preguntar

Three verbs, three meanings, and some confusion between them. But now you know the difference between ordenar and pedir, you know when to use preguntar, and all you have to do is to practice these verbs.

Make sure to download our pedir vs preguntar worksheet pdf, and introduce these verbs into real-life conversations in order to normalize their use in your Spanish vocabulary.

Sign up for a free class to practice the Spanish verbs ordenar, pedir, preguntar, and use them while having lively conversations with one of our certified, native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala. Ten years of experience and 24,000+ monthly active students back us up!

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(Video) Spanish Lesson 27 Early Intermediate. Pedir & Preguntar. LightSpeed Spanish


Ordenar vs Pedir: What's the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs? ›

Ordenar – to order, to command, to sort. Pedir – to ask, to ask for, to request.

What is the verb pedir in Spanish? ›

The verb pedir means 'to ask for' or 'to order'. This verb is irregular in the indicative present tense, with an -e to -i shift for all pronouns except nosotros and vosotros.

What are the three different types of verbs in Spanish? ›

First things first: there are three classes of Spanish verbs: -ar verbs, -er verbs, and -ir verbs.

What's the difference between pedir and preguntar? ›

Firstly, perhaps many of you know that PEDIR means TO ASK FOR. Whilst PREGUNTAR simply means TO ASK in Spanish.

What are the two types of verbs in Spanish? ›

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs. The distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs is important enough to Spanish grammar that the classification is given in most Spanish dictionaries—vt or vtr for verbos transitivos and vi for verbos intransitivos.

What type of verb is Ensenar? ›

Enseñar is a regular -ar verb.

What is an example of pedir conjugation? ›

The participle of “pedir” is “pedido” (asked), and we use it when the active verb in a sentence is “haber” (to have). For example: “Tenemos que irnos, ¿Has pedido ya la cuenta?”, means “We have to go.

What are the 3 main verb endings in Spanish? ›

There are three types of Spanish regular verbs. You'll easily recognize them by theirs endings: -ar, -er or –ir.

What is the most common type of verb in Spanish? ›

Most of the verbs in Spanish are regular and can be conjugated according to the models of verbs ending in -ar, -er and -ir. The verbs "amar (to love)", "temer (to fear)" and "partir (to leave)" are generally used as examples.

What is the difference between pedir and ordenar? ›

The difference between ordenar and pedir is one of power, authority, and politeness. Ordenar implies that someone has authority over someone else to command them to do something. On the other hand, pedir is a polite way of asking someone to do that same thing voluntarily.

What are the 6 forms of Pedir? ›

Pedir in the Indicative Present
Ella / Él / Ustedpides/he asks for, you (formal) asks for
Nosotras / Nosotrospedimoswe ask for
Vosotras / Vosotrospedísyou (plural) ask for
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedespidenthey ask for, you (plural formal) ask for
2 more rows

What is the difference between escuchar and oye? ›

This is precisely the difference between oír and escuchar. In short, the Spanish verb oír (oh-EER) translates as 'to hear' (you perceive sounds). Conversely, escuchar (ehs-koo-CHAHR) translates as 'to listen' (you pay close attention to a sound).

How can I learn Spanish tenses fast? ›

But you're free to choose how you want to do it.
  1. Create Lots of Conjugation Charts. ...
  2. Write Short Paragraphs with All the Conjugation Forms. ...
  3. Record Yourself Conjugating Verbs. ...
  4. Write Your Own Conjugation Song. ...
  5. Sing Someone Else's Conjugation Song. ...
  6. Practice Conjugation with a Fluent Spanish Speaker. ...
  7. Read Plenty of Spanish Books.
Feb 6, 2023

How do you tell if a Spanish verb is regular or irregular? ›

Spanish verbs use stems and endings for their various conjugations. In regular verbs, the stems don't change, and the endings change based on the personal pronoun you're using (I, you, we, etc.). Irregular verbs don't follow the same ending patterns, and their stems sometimes change when endings are added.

What are 5 regular verbs in Spanish? ›

Regular -ar verbs in Spanish
  • Abandonar - to abandon.
  • Abrazar - to hug.
  • Averiguar - to find out.
  • Bailar - to dance.
  • Bañar - to bathe.
  • Caminar - to walk.
  • Cantar - to sing.
  • Causar - to cause.

What type of verb is dibujar? ›

Dibujar is a regular -ar verb.

What type of verb is olvidar? ›

The first thing that you need to know is that olvidar is a transitive verb. These are verbs that take a direct object pronoun. In other words, you need “something” to olvidar or to forget.

What type of verb is Volver? ›

Volver: An Irregular Past Participle Verb.

What is the conjugation of Ensenar? ›

Enseñar Conjugation: Present Tense
1 more row

What is the verb ending for the verb pedir? ›

Pedir Conjugation: Present Tense
1 more row

What is vosotros? ›

Vosotros is a subject pronoun used only in Spain. It is one of four subject pronouns in Spanish that are translated as you.

What does Tambien mean? ›

Yo is the first-person pronoun “I” or “me.” The adverb también (“also, too”) is a contraction of the words tan, meaning “as,” and bién, meaning “good.” Yo también literally translates to “I also” in English.

What are the 12 most used verbs in Spanish? ›

In order of frequency, they are: ser, estar, haber, poder, tener, hacer, decir, deber, ir, ver, parecer and dar. Similar to English, the conjugations of almost all of these most frequent verbs are irregular, which means they don't always follow normal conjugation rules.

What are the 6 verbs in Spanish? ›

Common Spanish Verbs
  • Estar = To be.
  • Ser = To be.
  • Tener = To have.
  • Haber = To have (auxiliary verb)
  • Hacer = To do or make.
  • Ir = To go.
  • Venir = To come.
  • Decir = To say or tell.

How many tenses are in Spanish? ›

There are 16 tenses in Spanish, but some Spanish experts consider "conditional" to be a tense, which can also be considered a "mood." It's important to understand the basics of how verbs are conjugated before we talk about all of them. There are three types of regular verbs in Spanish.

Does nosotros mean they? ›

is a Spanish pronoun that means we, us, or ourselves in English.

When should a verb end in a or e? ›

If the subject is he (él) drop the ending and add either -a or -e. If the verb is an -ar verb, add -a. If it is an -er or -ir verb, add -e. Look for a pattern in the ella form.

What are the 4 irregular verbs in Spanish? ›

Four of the most frequently-used verbs in Spanish (ser, estar, ir, and haber) are irregular.

What is the most used verb? ›

25 Most Common Verbs
  • be.
  • have.
  • do.
  • say.
  • get.
  • make.
  • go.
  • know.

How many Spanish verbs should I know? ›

“Assume that a language learner is aiming for 90% coverage in each of the four parts of speech that represent open classes — nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. This 90% figure will be obtained by knowing about 2600 nouns, 230 verbs, 980 adjectives, and 50 adverbs, or a total of about 3800 total forms.” ]

What is the imperfect verb for pedir? ›

The imperfect root of Pedir is pedía. The imperfect tense is rarely irregular and can be easily conjugated from this form, which is the yo, and él/ella conjugation.

Is ordenar preterite or imperfect? ›

20 more rows

What are the 5 forms of estar? ›

Lesson Summary

This lesson showed you how to conjugate the verb estar in the present indicative, imperfect, and present subjunctive forms. To describe how you feel or where you are, you use the present indicative forms of estar - estoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están.

What are the two parts of a Spanish reflexive verb? ›

How are Spanish reflexive verbs formed? Reflexive verbs are formed with two main parts. The main verb is who is performing the action, and the reflexive pronoun is who the action is directed at.

How many conjugation are there? ›

The good news is that most of these tenses are formed by the use of auxiliary verbs, such as will, have, be, so it's not as if you have to learn up to 16 different conjugations. In English, we can break the tenses down to five main areas: past, present, future, perfect and conditional.

What is the difference between Ves and mirar? ›

Ver vs Mirar – The Basics

Ver means “to see” in most cases and typically (but not always) refers to the act of perceiving something through your eyes. Mirar translates into “to look” and “to watch” and implies paying close attention to something.

What is the difference between tu es and eres? ›

Eres is used for more permanent situations and estás is used in more temporary situations. Sjlkh is correct in saying the está and es are used for formal situations and tú and estás are used for informal situations.

What is the difference between mirar ver and buscar? ›

“Buscar” means “to look for” something or someone, and “mirar” means to look or look at something or someone.

What is the hardest tense to learn in Spanish? ›

1. Subjunctive. This might be one of the hardest things to get. After being bombarded with tens of new tenses (in the indicative), you learn there's a whole other dimension of tenses called the subjuntivo.

What is the most complicated Spanish tense? ›

Future Perfect. The future perfect is one of the most complex Spanish tenses there are.

What are the three most important tenses in Spanish? ›

The three main tenses in Spanish are:
  • Presente (Present)
  • Pasado / Pretérito (Past)
  • Futuro (Future)
Jul 8, 2021

Is Tener an irregular verb? ›

Tener is an irregular verb, which means that its conjugations don't follow a common pattern.

What are the 50 most common verbs in Spanish? ›

The 50 Most Common Spanish Verbs
12 more rows
Sep 26, 2012

Is Gustar a regular verb? ›

The verb gustar is an irregular one so you can't conjugate it like other -ar verbs. This Spanish verb can be particularly hard for new Spanish language students.

What are the 10 most used regular verbs? ›

The top 10 regular verbs in English are: want, look, use, work, start, try, ask, need, talk, and help.

What is the difference between pedir and poder? ›

"Pedir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to ask for", and "poder" is an auxiliary verb which is often translated as "to be able to".

How do you order pedir in Spanish? ›

Pedir means “to ask,” “to ask for,” or “to request.” In Spanish, it's a straightforward verb, its confusion arises when ordenar is used in the sense of “to order,” which is a function played by pedir too. ¿Puedes ordenar la comida?/¿Puedes pedir la comida? Can you order the food?

What is pedir in Spanish duolingo? ›

Also, the verb "pedir" can be translated either as "to ask for," "to request," or "to order."

What does pedir mean in preterite? ›

Pedir is a Spanish verb meaning to order, to ask for. Pedir is conjugated as an irregular verb in the preterite tense. Pedir appears on the 100 Most Used Spanish Preterite Tense Verbs Poster as the 24th most used irregular verb.

What are the 5 forms of poder? ›

In this article, we have covered: Poder in its most common tenses (puedo, pude, podía, podré, pueda, pudiera, podría, and he podido)

What are the 5 conjugations of the verb poder? ›

Poder in the Indicative Present
YopuedoI am able to
puedesyou are able to
Ella / Él / Ustedpuedes/he is able to, you (formal) are able to
Nosotras / Nosotrospodemoswe are able to
2 more rows

What is the correct order for Spanish sentences? ›

In the first place, the word order and Spanish sentence structure is dissimilar from that of English sentences. In a Spanish sentence the verb comes before the subject, and the sentence takes the following form: object + verb + subject. On the contrary, in an English sentence, the verb comes after the subject.

What is the 1st conjugation in Spanish? ›

If the infinitive of the Spanish verb ends in -ar, it means that the verb belongs to the first conjugation, for example, hablar, lavar, llamar.To know which form of the verb to use in Spanish, you need to work out what the stem of the verb is and then add the correct ending.

What is the Spanish verb for to ask for to order? ›

Spanish Verb PEDIR: to ask for.

What is mucho gusto in Duolingo? ›

When people speak spanish to me: Mucho Gusto = Pleasure to meet you!

What are the 4 irregular verbs Spanish preterite? ›

Here you have a list of irregular verbs and their stems in the preterite.
Irregular VerbPreterite Stem
hacerhic (exception: Él/Ella/Usted = hizo)
24 more rows

What are the 5 irregular verbs in Spanish preterite? ›

There are just five highly irregular Spanish that you'll need to memorize: ser (to be), ir (to go), ver (to see), dar (to give), and haber (to have – auxiliary). The good news is that ser and ir have identical conjugation, so you'll just need to learn four.

Is Dormir preterite or imperfect? ›

Lesson Summary

The verb dormir means 'to sleep'. This verb is regular in the preterite tense (things that happened in the immediate past), but has an -o to -u shift in the third person singular and plural. Dormir is regular in the imperfect tense (things that happened repeatedly in the past).


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