Posted by TheFallen on November 01, 2002
In Reply to: Tough ask posted by Word Wizard on October 31, 2002
: : : :
: : : : Can some body tell me, whether it is correct to say that some thing was tough ask meaning was difficult to perform?
: : : Yes. "That job was tough to do." "They gave him a tough job."
: : Tough is a perfectly acceptable adjective but "tough ask" isn't correct. "Tough ask" uses the word "ask", a verb as a noun. Adjectives modify nouns. A better choice would be "tough question", or "tough assignment".
: : Now it's entirely possible that someone out there is using "tough ask" but it isn't correct, nor is it particularly clever or charming as some deliberate grammatical mistakes can be. If I heard someone using this expression I'd probably draw the conclusion that he had very poor language skills or that it was some obnoxious affectation.
: Perhaps 'tough ask' is a corruption of the immortal request made by Cleopatra when she asked for a 'tough Asp'- the rest is history.
I don't know why Cleo would request a tough asp all of a sudden - especially given that she'd been inordinately successful through careful and considered usage of her much-renowned pert asp.