07 January 2013

I won't say no - how could I?

More and more people in my workplace have begun using the word "ask" as a noun. (Example: I have a quick ask for you -- can you look up X and Y statistics for me?)

The only place I have run across this usage is in the title of Sam Lipsyte's latest novel, in which "the ask" is a request for a substantial donation made to a donor. I don't know whether this is relevant, but I don't work in development so the people I know who use it do not use it like this.

Anyway, it is ridiculous and needs to stop. Ask is a verb. It grates on me so, I'm about to start doing that first-grade-teacher thing where I say "You mean, you want to ask me to do something? I don't know, can you?"Potential substitutions include the accurate "request," the elegant "query," the utilitarian "question" or unfortunately "demand."

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