proposer (fr) vs propose (en)

The French proposer and the English to propose can be quite similar.

In formal English

For example:

  • To put forward a plan or proposal: The committee proposed a new agreement. → Le comité a proposé un nouvel accord. 
  • We proposed Ms Smith as Chair / Chairperson / Chairwoman. → Nous avons proposé Mme Smith en tant que Présidente.

In casual or neutral English

However, note the difference in non-academic use:

  • Je lui ai proposé d’aller boire un café. I asked him out for coffee.

If we want to be more articulate, we might say, I invited him for a coffee. / I suggested we meet over/for a coffee.

Other examples of ask:

  • asked my in-laws to dinner.
  • I asked her round for a drink. (to my house, to the place where the speaker is)
  • He’d like to ask her out, but she is elusive, and he never manages to catch her.

In short, ask is a better choice in the spoken language, while propose sounds stilted, or too serious. In formal language, policy, and academic language, propose is appropriate.

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