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Ask () and Wait
ask [] and wait
Category Sensing
Type Stack
Introduced in 13Feb09 (1.4 alpha)
The Scratch Cat asking a question
The stage asking a question
The stage asking a question in Scratch 2.0

The Ask () and Wait block is a Sensing block and a Stack block. The block will make the sprite using the block say the question and show an input box at the bottom of the screen. If the question is being asked by the stage or a hidden sprite, the question will appear above the input instead. Scratchers can input text into it and submit it, and the input is stored then in the Answer block. The Answer block automatically updates to most recent input.

This block and the answer block were added in 13Feb09 of Scratch 1.4 alpha.


If this block is used in a sprite that is showing, the question asked will pop up in a speech bubble, similar to the Say () (block). When the sprite is hidden, or if the block is used in the stage, the question pops up above the input box.

Example Uses

As this block allows users to input any text they want, it is widely used when a user must communicate with the project.

Some common uses for the Ask () and Wait block:

  • Chatbots — receiving information from the user
ask [What's your name?] and wait
say (join [Hello, ] (join (answer) [.]))
  • Setting preferences — coordinates, color, and so on
ask [What is your favourite colour?] and wait
set [color v] effect to (answer)
say [I turned into your favourite colour!]
  • Receiving input — asking the user to give a command
ask [Move how many steps?] and wait
move (answer) steps


Main article: List of Block Workarounds

Sensing Method

This block can be somewhat replicated with the following code:

define ask (question) and wait
say (question)
delete all of [answer v]
set [position v] to [1] // where to insert the next letter
repeat until <key (join [enter] []) pressed?>
  detect keys
  if <<key (right arrow v) pressed?> and <(position) < ((length of [answer v]) + (1))>> then
    change [position v] by (1)
  if <<key (left arrow v) pressed?> and <(position) > [1]>> then
    change [position v] by (-1)
  if <<key (join [][~]) pressed?> and <(position) > [1]>> then // the tilde serves as the backspace key, since it is impossible to let Scratch detect if the backspace key has been pressed
    change [position v] by (-1)
    delete (position) of [answer v]
  wait until <not <key (any v) pressed?>>
say []

define detect keys // run without screen refresh
set [all letters v] to [  !"#$%&'()*+,-./0123456789:;<=>?@[\\\]^_`abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz{|}]
set [letter # v] to [0]
repeat (length of (all letters))
  change [letter # v] by (1)
  if <key (letter (letter #) of (all letters)) pressed?> then
    insert (letter (letter #) of (all letters)) at (position) of [answer v]
    change [position v] by (1)
Note Note: This does not work perfectly. See this project for more information.

The list "answer" will replace the answer block.

Hat Block Method

Text input can be retrieved in correct order and speed by using this method.

when [a v] key pressed
add [a] to [queue v]

when [b v] key pressed
add [b] to [queue v]

when [c v] key pressed
add [c] to [queue v]

//and so forth for each key

when [left arrow v] key pressed
delete (length of [queue v]) of [queue v] // backspace function

when gf clicked
delete all of [queue v]
wait until <key (right arrow v) pressed?> // this will confirm the user is done inputting
set [clump v] to [] // blank
set [n v] to [1]
repeat (length of [queue v]) // compile list into a single string
set [clump v] to (join (clump) (item (n) of [queue v])
change [n v] by (1)

(clump) // will be the answer


To cancel the text box that appears once this block is activated, one must stop the script which ran this block. An example of when one might want to cancel the text box is if an answer is not received in a certain amount of time, or if a cancel button is pressed.

A few methods of cancellation are:

Clone Method

define ask (question) // question is asked with this custom block
set [question v] to (question)
create clone of (myself v)

when I start as a clone
ask (question) and wait

broadcast (stop message v) // question is stopped with this broadcast

when I receive [stop message v] // This will delete all clones. If this is not desired, a way to identify clones should be added.
delete this clone

Stop Method

// Sprite1
define ask [question] // question is asked with this custom block
set [question v] to (question)
broadcast (ask v)

broadcast (cancel v) // question is cancelled with this broadcast

// Sprite2
when I receive [ask v]
ask (message) and wait

when I receive [cancel v]
stop [other scripts in sprite v] // note that this will stop all scripts in Sprite2, so it is best that Sprite2 is empty apart from these two scripts

See Also

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