My guess, and I'm not a native Italian speaker, is that you are asking something "from" the other person. For that purpose, you would use "da". Please correct me if I'm wrong though.
In the past nine months I have learned why it should be "Da"! The "Da" in this sentence would be translated into english like so Is what I need, too much to ask for?" the "Da" is used to express need, "è troppo da chiedere?" meaning Is it too much - purpose/need- to ask for? Overtime you will see pattern with other verbs, my italian abilities have grown a lot in the past 9 months and this is the best explanation I have.
Haven't been learning as long but here is my opinion on "da". Words may have different meanings after a verb or a noun. When it's after a noun (or part of) it does usually refer to purpose, (e.g. rete da pesca "net from fishing = fishing net".
Though if it's after a verb it can be a "to/from" kind of thing e.g. viene dal dottore = come from the doctor, andare dal dottore = go to the doctor. Usually da will translate well to "from".
in this example "È troppo da chiedere?", I would just translate da=to.
Does anyone know the answer? I'd like to know what function it serves in this sentence too.
One blog I found in a web search basically said there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding the use of da - and probably di & a as well.
I hate to say this, but this question seems to involve idiom to a great extent, something that will only become clear(er) with time and exposure to the language - as we memorize usage(s).
Another point based on my research skill-set: Usually, if you do searches on things like "Difference between di and da in Italian" or "di vs. da in Italian", an article pops up in the search results. I got only one likely result at en.allexperts.com, but unfortunately that site has been closed. The lack of immediate results is always a very strong suggestion that there isn't an answer.
Actually, in this particular case it's modifying (aka qualifying, describing) an adverb. But it's usually an adjective.
The thing isn't just "too much", but "too much to ask". "To ask" modifies the meaning of "too much". It's like "hard to look at" doesn't mean "hard", but "ugly". "Easy to fail at" doesn't mean "easy", but "hard".
In Italian we actually would say "È chiedere troppo?". This sounds bad and it's terribly confusing.
Is "It is too much to ask?" a proper question in English? Doesn't sound very well...
No, it would not be asked in that way. We would definitely say, "Is it too much to ask?"
Short answer/rule of thumb
Just think of this really simple exchange:
Question "Is it?"
Answer "It is."
It's more natural (and required when being formal) to ask "Is it... ?", but "It is... ?" is perfectly understandable, as long as it is voiced as a question. When writing, I'd try to stick with the 'rule' above.
Sometimes though, when using a contraction, the it-is? order can be as acceptable and flow a little better:
"It's too much?" vs. "Is it too much?".
Note that it won't always work:
Correct: "Why is it too much?" -- "Why's it too much?"
Wrong: "Why it is too much?"
Engish speakers ask "Is it..." not "It is...". You'd sound like a foreigner.
I would? Perhaps so. I'd enjoy the irony of being judged for speaking naturally in my mother tongue though.
After a bit of googling and reflection, it seems that those questions in which the subject and auxiliary verb are NOT switched ("It is..?") form a special case, wherein word order is preserved due to the expectation/implication of a "tag"
"It is, is it?" --> "It is?"
"It is, isn't it?" --> "It is?"
"It's too much to ask, is it?" --> "It's too much to ask?"
"It's over, then?" --> "It's over?"
Note that since tags are purely colloquial, these forms are not for formal written use. Furthermore, these constructs are heavily reliant on intonation and context; those examples I think of tend to use vocal inflections indicating surprise, concern, scepticism, or some expectation of a relevant response from the addressee.
The examples you quote are affected heavily by the nature of their usage: to speak very basic English, you would use "it is" outside of a question but "is it" within one. It is no exception that this is the case, it is just unlike other languages in which there is no difference between the two forms described above.
The rule about tags is that if the first part of the statement is negative, the second is positive and vice versa: Wrong: It is, is it? Correct: It is, isn't it? Wrong: It isn't, isn't it? Correct: It isn't, is it?
Correct: Is it too much to ask?
In case of a tag the correct sentence would be: It's too much to ask, isnt't it?
Both examples are formed as questions rather than statements
Perhaps this will assist in understanding - an article on using da in Italian
Does "chiedere" mean here "ask" as in "ask a question" or as in "ask for a favour"? Does it have both meanings in Italian just like in English? Because, e. g. my native Ukrainian uses two different words for these two meanings.
That's very interesting about Ukrainian. I suppose we're talking about the difference between "ask" and "request" - never thought about the difference in between those two meanings in English.
Yes, you're right. I see now that italian doesnät make this distinction either.
I think this distinction is common for Slavic languages in general. At least Polish and Russian both have different words for the concepts; and of the three, only in Russian these two words have a common stem, whereas in Polish and in Ukrainian they are completely different.
Ask: Pol. "pytać", Ukr. "питати" (pytaty), Rus. "спрашивать"(sprashyvat')
Request: Pol. "prosić", Ukr. "просити" (prosyty), Rus. "просить" (prasit')
It's also interesting that in Russian "пытать" (pytat') means now "to torture". One can guess that it got this meaning from using torture during interrogations (where people are usually asked things). That may explain why it doesn't mean "to ask" anymore.
some verbs require a particular preposition be used before nouns, phrases, infinitives and pronouns. here is a page that may help. http://www.learnitaliandaily.com/en/italian-grammar/reflexive-verbs-in-italian in this case essere is used in a passive voice and doesn't require a preposition. 'da' doesn't mean "to". it doesn't have a translatable meaning. it denotes 'necessity'. whatever the antecedent is it is necessary. here is a page that may help https://www.italian-online.de/grammar/chapter13/13_4_4_connecting_with_da.htm
I don't understand why it's "da chiedere" . I translated the sentence correctly but am not sure why
no, chiedere is impersonal, it is unattached to a he or a she. '(lui) chiede troppo?' or '(lui) sta chiedendo troppo?' would be 'is he asking too much?'. The è here refers to the thing that is being asked
No, it's because of the passive nature given by "da" between two verbs:
- È troppo da chiedere? = Is it too much (for a question) to be asked?
Although I might not get the full meaning of the exercise, thanks to gelfo and shark's responses anyway.
Two years ago this translation was marked as being incorrect, and the error remains.
Please correct the translation into English.
Sentences beginning with "Is it" form questions. Sentences beginning with "It is" make statements.
The correct translation into English should be: "Is it too much to ask?"
The existing translation begins with "It is" which does not match with English grammar.
Not sure which part of world you are from but where I am from, your example would be grammatically incorrect. It's always "is it too much to ask".