Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby Daristani » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:23 pm

There are English dialects in which "needed taken care" of is the normal way of speaking. In the US, this construction is standard in Western Pennsylvania, but is also used more broadly as well. See this very recent online discussion:

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=31585

Since I'm from Western Pennsylvania, I talk this way, even though it drives my wife mad. I also have a vague recollection that this construction came up once before either in this forum or on the earlier HTLAL forum, and that it was common in some parts of Scotland as well.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby Steve » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:31 pm

I'm in the midwest in the US. That's the first time I've seen that usage. I would always expect to see "things that needed doing."

In spoken English, I could see "Things that needed doing" becoming "Things that needed doin' " with the "ing" sounding like "in".

Perhaps "done" is a variation from a quickly spoken "doin"? Is the pronunciation of done and doin' close in some English dialects?
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby tastyonions » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:07 pm

"Needs / needed taking care of" is fairly common and I could easily see that transforming into or being recast as "needs taken care of" in dialects with "g-dropping."
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby Adrianslont » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:19 pm

DaveBee wrote:
smallwhite wrote:Sorry, should've posted the link that I was looking at.

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&s ... 0gTpwI7wAw

I can't see the number of search results here on my phone, but "things that needed done" seems to be quite common or at least acceptable?
Following your link, I can see the instances. I still think it's wrong/unacceptable.

Perhaps others can chime in?

I would say that "things that needed done" is "wrong", too. I had a very quick look at those search results and I see a lot of reviews for car mechanics and blogs talking about housekeeping - all american. I suspect it is an American thing, probably quite regional. Perhaps American members can comment. I have never heard it here in Australia but if it turns up in a popular American movie or tv series, I suspect it will spread like rabbits.

On the other hand, "things (that) I needed done" - with the "that" as optional - is fine with me and commonly found in Australia and the UK.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby klvik » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:01 pm

Adrianslont wrote:
DaveBee wrote:
smallwhite wrote:Sorry, should've posted the link that I was looking at.

Perhaps others can chime in?

I would say that "things that needed done" is "wrong", too. I had a very quick look at those search results and I see a lot of reviews for car mechanics and blogs talking about housekeeping - all american. I suspect it is an American thing, probably quite regional. Perhaps American members can comment. I have never heard it here in Australia but if it turns up in a popular American movie or tv series, I suspect it will spread like rabbits.

On the other hand, "things (that) I needed done" - with the "that" as optional - is fine with me and commonly found in Australia and the UK.


It is not an American thing. I have lived on the east coast, the west coast, a couple of northern states, a couple of southern states and few few places in between, but I have never heard this usage. But, I have not spent much time in western Pennsylvania. :lol:
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby Adrianslont » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:13 pm

klvik wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:
DaveBee wrote:
smallwhite wrote:Sorry, should've posted the link that I was looking at.

Perhaps others can chime in?

I would say that "things that needed done" is "wrong", too. I had a very quick look at those search results and I see a lot of reviews for car mechanics and blogs talking about housekeeping - all american. I suspect it is an American thing, probably quite regional. Perhaps American members can comment. I have never heard it here in Australia but if it turns up in a popular American movie or tv series, I suspect it will spread like rabbits.

On the other hand, "things (that) I needed done" - with the "that" as optional - is fine with me and commonly found in Australia and the UK.


It is not an American thing. I have lived on the east coast, the west coast, a couple of northern states, a couple of southern states and few few places in between, but I have never heard this usage. But, I have not spent much time in western Pennsylvania. :lol:


So not a widely used American thing? But the couple of dozen links I followed ARE American - not British, Australian, NZ, etc or from non-native speakers.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby Tomás » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:20 pm

If you leave out the "to be", the sentence would still be understood, but signify you as less educated or lower class.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby Ani » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:36 am

If I am understanding the discussion properly, "<something> needs done" is pretty common where I live in Alaska. The tricky part is that people are from all over because if oil and the military base so I couldn't tell you where that originates from. I'd guess somewhere southern with a strong military presence because all those people are ending up here :) It doesn't feel lower class to me, but middle class extremely lazy/casual register of speech... I also see it in writing a lot on my homeschool forums. I have no idea if those people would actually say that in real life or if it has been picked up as a short form of explaining a to do list.

Edit:
smallwhite wrote:Question 4

I went stay with family after my surgery. A friend thought that I went there because someone there needed help. "It's actually I who needed taken care of," I replied.

Does that sound right? Or do I have to say "It's actually I who needed to be taken care of"? I think the "to be" is optional, but even if it is I'm not sure if it sounds natural to omit it.

(I prefer "it's actually I" to "it's actually me". I believe "I" is correct although less common).

Thank you!


I should have looked more carefully at the original question. The biggest problem with the example sentence "It's actually I that needed.." is the first part. You've mixed tenses. I'd say "It was actually me that needed..." to be taken care of is correct for common speech, but "needed taken care of" is actually extremely common despite all the claims of never having heard it :) I think our brains fill in the omission. I know I'd say "needed taken care of" in that context as a lazy omission when I'd never say "the washing needs done" ad I was referring to up top. I grew up in NJ and had a very upper class education for a number of years.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby smallwhite » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:58 am

Interesting! Thank you for everyone's input!

There are
about 48,000 Google results for "things that needed done",
about 208,000 for "that needed done", and
about 14,800 for "that needed taken care of".
"Taken care of" and "done" are actually kind of synonymous in "[s]o many things that needed taken care of".

I'm surprised a non-native (me) who hasn't watched TV much and has not interacted with natives much, is sure about the regional and colloquial usage "things that needed done" and says "I who needed taken care of", while natives say they have never heard it. Where have I been learning my English from? :o

Ani wrote:The biggest problem with the example sentence "It's actually I that needed.." is the first part. You've mixed tenses. I'd say "It was actually me that needed..." to be taken care of is correct for common speech...

I've always thought "it was" could be contracted to "it's"! :D I did wonder why Steve bothered to expand it back to "it was" in his post :D

smallwhite wrote:"It's actually I who needed taken care of," I replied.
Last edited by smallwhite on Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Smallwhite needs help with English expressions

Postby klvik » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:03 am

Adrianslont wrote:
klvik wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:
DaveBee wrote:
smallwhite wrote:Sorry, should've posted the link that I was looking at.

Perhaps others can chime in?

I would say that "things that needed done" is "wrong", too. I had a very quick look at those search results and I see a lot of reviews for car mechanics and blogs talking about housekeeping - all american. I suspect it is an American thing, probably quite regional. Perhaps American members can comment. I have never heard it here in Australia but if it turns up in a popular American movie or tv series, I suspect it will spread like rabbits.

On the other hand, "things (that) I needed done" - with the "that" as optional - is fine with me and commonly found in Australia and the UK.


It is not an American thing. I have lived on the east coast, the west coast, a couple of northern states, a couple of southern states and few few places in between, but I have never heard this usage. But, I have not spent much time in western Pennsylvania. :lol:


So not a widely used American thing? But the couple of dozen links I followed ARE American - not British, Australian, NZ, etc or from non-native speakers.


I can't comment on the articles that you have read since I have not seen them. But no, it is not an American thing, it is a regional thing (and a very small region, at that). It would be interesting to know what percentage of the population in the area use that construction. I have met many people from the Pittsburgh area and have never heard that usage before.
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