My feed

to access all these features

Pedants' corner

'Needs replaced'

45 replies

BreeVDKamp · 15/11/2015 06:29

I see this all the time on here and it sounds soooo wrong but I think that I am wrong and it is correct.

Shouldn't it be 'needs to be replaced', or 'needs replacing'? Is it obscure and cumbersome sounding Proper English? What is the rule for using it?

There are other examples too but they don't spring to mind. 'Needs reviewed' etc.

OP posts:
SueGeneris · 15/11/2015 06:43

I think you need 'to be' in there. Otherwise you are kind of leaping to the end result without taking the action. 'Replaced' is the past tense of the verb whereas 'replacing' is the verb in action. The replacing is what needs to be done. Hmm. I'm not sure that all makes sense.

I wish I could explain it properly in grammar terms. DH uses that phrasing as he knows I think it's wrong so he does it to wind me up. I'm a copy editor so really should be able to argue the technicalities!

flowery · 15/11/2015 06:45

It annoys me as well but I asked on a MN thread and apparently it's regional dialect in some places. Which explains why I've never heard it in RL but see it often on here.

SueGeneris · 15/11/2015 06:45

In our house it's 'needs washed ' or 'needs tidied' etc that generally causes grammatical dischord.

BreeVDKamp · 15/11/2015 06:51

Aha. So I am not unreasonable to raise an eyebrow at it then. Sounds like it's akin to using 'myself' when you mean 'me'.

OP posts:
tribpot · 15/11/2015 06:51

Yes, it's a regional thing. It's still incorrect but it has widespread use.

austenozzy · 15/11/2015 07:06

Every other item for sale on those fb selling groups is described as being cheap as it "needs gone". V annoying!

weebarra · 15/11/2015 07:20

Might be a regional thing (I'm Scottish and it's not heard so much up here) but I dislike it. Also "needs replacing".

tribpot · 15/11/2015 09:01

weebarra, I've only heard it in Scotland I think ..

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark · 15/11/2015 14:26

My Northern Irish friend is the only person I've ever heard use the "need + participle" construction.

"My hair needs washed/cut" etc.

The other two constructions are identical in meaning and render the sentence passive.

My car needs to be cleaned (hopefully not by me)
The ironing needs doing (again, hopefully by someone else)

tabulahrasa · 15/11/2015 14:32

It's correct grammar in Scots, not in English, but no clue about in other dialects.

EnaSharplesHairnet · 15/11/2015 14:34


EnaSharplesHairnet · 15/11/2015 14:35

Or rather Standard Scottish English.

Iwanttobeadog · 15/11/2015 14:36

I was going to start this very thread. All of a sudden it's everywhere

KoalaDownUnder · 15/11/2015 14:37

What ThenLater says sums it up.

It looks v weird and wrong when I see it on here. It's not a construction I've ever heard in real life.

DickDewy · 15/11/2015 14:45

It's ghastly.

I have never heard anyone use it in rl, but it is rife on here.

bigkidsdidit · 15/11/2015 14:50

It's normal scots use. I think it makes sense - needs to be washed rather than needs washing. I moved from England to Scotland and have noticed it creeping in!

FinglesMcStingles · 15/11/2015 14:52

It seems to have exploded out of nowhere and it drives me demented. Regional variation, fine, I'll just avoid that region and everyone's happy. But it's everywhere all of a sudden and I'm baffled as to why.

bigkidsdidit · 15/11/2015 14:55

Do you think?

I've noticed 'I've ate / I've went' has exploded on here recently. I wonder if they are linked.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark · 15/11/2015 14:57

No, not linked.

They're wrong, for a start, whereas "needs + past participle" might not sound nice to some ears, but isn't.

bigkidsdidit · 15/11/2015 15:27

I didn't mean linked grammatically, sorry. I wonder if they are both things the kids say nowadays

Trills · 15/11/2015 15:49

"Needs washed" instead of "Needs to be washed" is not standard English but it is a recognised regional variant.

It's not just wrong like saying "should of" instead of "should have".

I don't think it is anything like people (in particular estate agents for some reason), saying "myself" when they mean "me". That's something that happens when people are trying extra hard to sound posh or proper (and failing).

BreeVDKamp · 15/11/2015 19:08


Makes me think of the 'are you going nandos?', 'can we go cinema?' etc that I heard alllllll the time living in SE London. I wonder if that is regional or just lazy/slang/cool? Seemed to only ever be teens.

OP posts:
Behooven · 15/11/2015 19:13

Interesting, I hate the "needs washing". Also can't abide "I was stood waiting" type of wording.

BreeVDKamp · 15/11/2015 20:26

I say 'needs washing', I didn't know that was colloquial too! So the correct is 'needs to be washed'? I do say that too.

OP posts:
Trills · 15/11/2015 20:53

Someone who understands parts of speech will be able to explain it better, but "needs washing" is different to "needs washed".

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.