Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 15:49:36 -0400


Subject: needs + p.p.

Tim Frazer, I read in PADS about your paper on needs + p.p. That usage

was one that really bothered my husband and me when we moved to WV from


Especially when one principal forwhom I worked (in 1950, WVU had a nepotism

rule which meant that I could not teach at the university since my husband

did. I ended up for six years teaching in ajunior high) told me that my

students" lockers needed cleaned. Then we heard our son remark that his

hair needed washed. After both his parents exploded, much to the poor child's

amazement, it is a wonder he ever washed his hair again. During the teen years

I wasn't sure he did. He always wore a baseball cap! Back to the point. In

trying to figure out where the usage came from, I isolated it (then) to sw

Pa., WV, and areas influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch. In German, the verbe

for need--brauchen--is one that does not take the infinitive after it--it

takes the past participle. Therefore, I decided in my infinite wisdom that

the usage was a transferral of German grammar to

English. How's that for what Marckwardt taught us was "folk" etymology!

Probably no validity to it at all, but it does sound logical, somehow. Wish

I could be in Chicago to hear your paper. Occasionally, I get homesick for the

Midwest, esp. Chicago, where I was born.

Martha Howard

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