Date: Fri, 7 Apr 1995 08:35:53 -0700
From: Peter McGraw pmcgraw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CALVIN.LINFIELD.EDU
Subject: Re: needs + present participle
On Fri, 7 Apr 1995, Gregory J. Pulliam wrote:
Now I'm doubting my own recollections. Several have written that "X needs
a washing" is grammatical in their dialects. Is "X needs washing" grammatical
in the dialects of anybody? I'm not alone out here, am I?
No, Greg, you're not alone. When I first saw the message about
"needs a washing," I wondered at it, but thought I'd sit this one out.
For me, at least, "needs washing" is the normal, neutral form. "Needs a
washing" is more likely to be used, usually with the adjective "good", to
form an intensified version of the construction, e.g., "What THIS car
needs is a good washing!"