Grammar Needs Abandoned?

Columnist Jan Freeman defends the habit, common in some regions, of using the past participle in place of the gerund or infinitive phrase – ie saying “t’lawn needs cut” rather than “the lawn needs to be cut”.

The main issue here is that the past participle is an adjective and the problem with using an adjective as a noun is that we seem to have a built in syntax checker that works independent of semantics. So if in “I work fed” the adjective applies to the subject, then it should also do so in “I need fed”, which therefore means that after being fed I apparently still need something else!

… of course the fact that in English the gerund (noun) has the same form as the present participle (adjective) also needs fixing – and if Jack was hungry when he got to the top of the beanstalk he would be as leery of saying “I need eating” as of “I need eaten”. I do like eating though….

But it should be clear by now that I don’t need confused since I already am!

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