What's the rule here? Obviously "i want him to ask this", and "i want to ask him this" are two very different sentences. But in the earlier practices the former option was the correct format.
"I want him to ask this" would require the subjunctive mood in Spanish, since you're expressing a desire that somebody else do something. That would be translated into "Quiero que él pregunte esto." or something similar.
DL has been teaching 'yo le hago una pregunta,' so I thought this was going to be 'yo le quiero hacer una pregunta.' I don't understand when to use the verb phrase 'hacer una pregunta' and when to use the verb 'preguntar.' Thanks.
Hacer is used in that instance because pregunta una pregunta is redundant.
Kara, I think preguntar is "to ask," and hacer una pregunta is "to ask a question. So, Pregunto esto" = "I ask/am asking this," and Hago esta pregunta* = "I ask/am asking this question." Please, someone correct me if I've messed it up!
I am confused when you need to include what the indirect object is referring to. On other questions it could be written "Yo le quiero preguntar al maestro esto" but not on this one for some reason?
It is my understanding, for what it is worth, that the use of the pronoun is required and the use of the clarifying phrase (al maestro in your example) is optional.
Welcome to the club. It's a typical construction in Romance Languages and goes back to late Latin. It's a difficult construction for English speakers but comes naturally to people who already know a Romance Language or who have a Romance Language as their mother tongue. It's one of those features of language acquisition that takes time, practice, and persistence. One idea for getting used to the construction is to put three examples of simple sentences that use the construction on a piece of paper and put it around your house/apartment so that you see it randomly and say it aloud. Before long, you will get used to it and enjoy it. But at first it is a strange construction to people who speak English. Good luck.
Why not simply and literally "I want to ask this?" How is gender inferred in the statement?