Prepositions frequently change the meanings of idioms and sayings when we come across them in English. The phrases “I have a question to you” and “I have a question for you” are good examples of this difference in meaning because of one straightforward word.
Is It “I Have A Question For You” Or “I Have A Question To You”?
“I have a question for you” should be used when wanting to ask somebody a question and want to let them know before you ask. “I have a question to you” should be used when using “ask” between “to” and “you,” like “I have a question to ask you.”
Can “I Have A Question For You” And “I Have A Question To You” Be Used Interchangeably?
“I have a question for you” is not interchangeable with “I have a question to you.” Unfortunately, the two phrases are not similar, and one of them is grammatically incorrect.
Unless you’re physically delivering a question TO somebody, you’d never say, “I have a question to you.” It’s incorrect and sounds strange, and many people will be confused if you try to say it.
We use “I have a question for you” when we want to ask a question but first warn the recipient that a question is coming.
The only time you might ever use “I have a question to you” correctly is by including “ask” between the “to” and the “you.” That changes the meaning of the sentence and allows for you to write it and say it in a grammatically correct way.
- I have a question to ask you.
This indicates that there is a question we want to ask somebody. It’s used similarly to “I have a question for you” when we write it like this. However, it’s not the most common way to say something like this, so we tend to use “I have a question for you” in its place.
What Is A Polite Way To Say “I Have A Question”?
If you want to be polite about it, you probably don’t want to rush into a conversation with “I have a question.” It’s far from a polite saying. Instead, you should try one of the following.
- Can I ask?
Starting the sentence with this still warns somebody that a question is on its way. However, you can use this more politely to make sure they’re okay with you asking the question. Using a question like “can I ask” is more formal than stating you have a question.
- Please could you tell me?
Including “please” at the start of this question is a great way to keep it polite. “Please” is a way to ask somebody for something politely, and thus including it with the rest of the question is a great way to come across in the right way – especially in formal situations.
- Would you be able to tell me?
You might notice a trend here. Rather than stating “I have a question,” it’s more polite to start with a question and then continue with what you need help with. A phrase like “would you be able to tell me” is a great question to come in with.
You might also be interested in: Do You Ask Or Pose A Question? (Difference Explained)
7 Examples Of How To Use “I Have A Question To You” In A Sentence
Now let’s look through some good examples of using the two phrases in a sentence. While “I have a question to you” is incorrect, we can still use “I have a question to ask you” to the same degree.
- I have a question to ask you about your car insurance.
- I have a question I’ve meant to ask you.
- I have a question to ask you if you wouldn’t mind hearing me out.
- I have a question to ask you that I think you’ll be interested in.
- I have a question to ask you about something very important.
- I have a question to ask you that I know you’ll have an answer for.
- I have a question to ask you if you’d be kind enough to assist me!
7 Examples Of How To Use “I Have A Question For You” In A Sentence
Now let’s look at some examples of using the correct phrase “I have a question for you.” We use this when we want to introduce someone to the idea of answering our question before outright asking it to them.
- I have a question for you if you’d hear me out!
- I have a question for you that might be useful.
- I have a question for you that I desperately need an answer to.
- I have a question for you that I know you can answer.
- I have a question for you about my workload.
- I have a question for you about what we do here.
- I have a question for you about what’s been going on.
What Do You Say When Someone Says “I Have A Question For You”?
When somebody says, “I have a question for you,” there are a few things you can reply. Typically, they’ll be in a more casual or informal setting, so the best thing to do is to hear them out (if you’re familiar with them).
You should always listen to the question (if you have time to do so) and try to answer it as best you can. However, because they’re setting you up to answer the question before asking it, you always have a chance to tell them that you’re busy or not interested.
If you want to hear the question and possibly answer it, listen to what they have to say and tell them you’re interested. If you’re not interested in the question or don’t have the time, tell them that and leave the conversation.
I Have A Question To/For You – Synonyms
Let’s finish with a quick look through some synonyms for the phrase that you might find useful!
- Here’s a question!
Another statement to use in a casual situation to introduce a question.
- Could you help me with something?
Another great formal question we can ask somebody.
- I want to ask you something.
This one is great for informal situations.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.