View Full Version : "Ask" is not a noun, dammit!
07-31-2007, 12:27 PM
I don't feel strongly enough about this to take it to The Pit. But I know several fundraisers, and in recent years have heard them use the word "ask" (usually preceded by "the") a lot, as in, "So I was schmoozing ol' Mrs. Jenkins to give more money to the orphanage, but when I got to the ask, she only gave me a check for fifty bucks."
Ugh. What's wrong with "When I asked for money," "When I made a request," or even "When I went in for the kill"?
"Ask" isn't a noun. But is it becoming one? Yuck.
07-31-2007, 12:32 PM
Oh wow. I've never heard this in conversation, and if I had without seeing this thread I think the conversation would be derailed for a few minutes while I wrapped my head around it.
Even so, it...works. I mean, nouning verbs is hardly unusual, and off the top of my head I can't think of an existing word that would fit that exact connotation and sentence construction. It's redundant with, say, "when I finally asked her for the money," sure, but what isn't in language?
07-31-2007, 12:36 PM
You have no idea what you are talking about. You really ought to axe someone for some information.
Harriet the Spry
07-31-2007, 12:37 PM
This was common terminology in fundraising when I worked in that field about 15 years ago. I would consider it jargon and not get bent about it unless people started taking it out of the context of their business ("then the girl at the drive through came on with the ask ..."). When you work in fundraising, you do talk about the process of asking people for money a lot. Also, you tend to break down the whole process into steps, with "the ask" being a key one. The prospect may have talked about other dollar figures, or a general willingness to give at other points, but you are specifically focused on the response to "the ask."
07-31-2007, 01:20 PM
We need to form a posse to beat the ever-loving stuffing out of anyone who uses "the ask" outside of the context of fundraising industry jargon.
I had the misfortune to meet someone in business who was all about getting to "the yes" in negotiations. BLEAH!
07-31-2007, 01:58 PM
I use "ask" as a noun all day long.
A stock quote is given as the bid and the ask.
07-31-2007, 06:13 PM
Rule #1: before complaining about the usage of a word, look it up in a Dictionary.
Asking, inquiry; thing asked, request.
a1000 Laws of Athelstan §5 (Thorpe I. 230) Hæfdon ealle a scean. 1205 LAY. 1053 Eouer axe ich eou leue. a1230 Juliana 16 He failed of his as. 1781 T. TWINING Let. 8 Dec. in Recreat. & Stud. (1882) 108, I am not so unreasonable as to desire you to..answer all my asks. 1886 ‘CAVENDISH’ Whist 127 When your three comes down in the next round, it is not an ask for trumps.So "ask" as a noun has a very long history. The use in whist continued to be used in bridge in the 20th century, BTW.
07-31-2007, 10:36 PM
Common in use in Oz. Take a so-so football team to begin with, which then gets 7 key players injured. Winning against the Comp leader is going to be "a big ask". Not saying this is a great use of language, mind you. Just common.
A particular horror of noun-verb incest that has emerged is the conversion of "risk-taking" to some miscegenated crawling Lovecraftian vision of hideousness - football player after a game says, "I'm very proud of my team. We risk-taked out there all afternoon."
07-31-2007, 10:54 PM
"Ask" isn't a noun. But is it becoming one? Yuck.Sounds like it's put you in an ask-icking mood.
08-01-2007, 02:06 AM
Who said I'm not a noun?!? Oh, oops, nm.
Sounds like it's put you in an ask-icking mood.
Grrroooooaaannn! Oh, Thudlow!
08-01-2007, 03:45 AM
Common in use in Oz. Take a so-so football team to begin with, which then gets 7 key players injured. Winning against the Comp leader is going to be "a big ask". Not saying this is a great use of language, mind you. Just common.Same in EnZed. But I'd find hearing someone talk about "the ask" in the OP's context as most odd, almost like consultantese.
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
08-01-2007, 04:07 AM
"Big ask" is also common in the UK, amongst sports commentators, too.
08-01-2007, 04:50 AM
If you think I'm going to stop using verbs as nouns, you've got another think coming.
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