Back in the days of the Roman Empire, being the top dog was just as risky a business and assassination was an occupational hazard.

The phrase "as risky a business": 1. What does it mean? (or maybe the general meaning of this structure?)

  1. What is this structure? Is it a compare structure like [as + adj + as]? If yes, why don't they write "as risky as a business" but "as risky a business"? If no, could you please explain it further?

  2. I have looked up in the dictionary and it said "risky business" = dangerous. If so, is it possible to paraphrase this to: ....being a top dog was a risky business? And as they write "risky a business" with "a" in between the phrase, won't it make the meaning of this phrase different? Thank you.

  • Welcome to ELL.SE! If you had any questions about the policies of our community, you can visit ‎‎the help center or take a ‎‎tour of the website.‎‎
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 15, 2015 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


It's short for "as risky a business" [as it is now]. The comparason is not vs. "business" or some other business, but vs. some other time.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .