"I ask him."
These are different types of pronouns. Hopefully this is somewhat clear:
Gli chiedo perché = I (subject pronoun) ask him (indirect object) why. You're posing the question to somebody, and that somebody is the indirect object. You could also say 'Chiedo perché a Mario' and by changing the sentence you see how the indirect object is preceded by an a or at times per. If you can't fit a preposition in front, it isn't an indirect object.
- Gli scrivo una lettera/Scrivo una lettera a lui
- Gli diamo un regalo/Diamo un regalo a lui
- Gli rispondo/Rispondo a lui
Lo dico a lui = I (subject pronoun) tell it (direct object) to him (indirect object). The direct object takes the action.
- Lo mangio/Mangio il biscotto
- Lo vediamo ogni giorno/Vediamo lui ogni giorno
- Non lo voglio/Non voglio il cappello
You could also say "glielo dico"...it gets wild.
Wonderfully clear. Thanks. English cases are not so distinct as they are in Italian (we're further away from Latin), but they still apply. Nevertheless, this may be one of the hardest things to grasp for contemporary Americans, for whom word order trumps declension. Cut 'em some slack, but keep insisting. Good work. Thanks again.
So in this case, are you saying the Italian phrase really translates to "I ask to/of him" i.e. "chiedo a lui"? And hence the Gli?
Yes, good. This has been confusing me. it's been awhile since I thought about English grammar, but the "him" in "I ask him" looks like a direct, not an indirect, object to me. But if you change it to "I pose a question to him" the "him" is definitely indirect. So this was very helpful - thanks!
I think it has multiple use, in this case it means "him"