English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The strange example makes me confused - with + adverb : "Red items need dealing with immediately after the process..."

How correct and common of this structure?

share|improve this question
It's fine: with belongs with dealing, not the adverb. Would you understand it better if it had been written "Red items need to be dealt with immediately ..."? – Robusto Jan 31 '13 at 12:55
I see the documentation - it says so. And I doubt need dealing... Is it an error? – xersi Jan 31 '13 at 12:59
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The issue which makes it sound strange is not with + adverb; it's -ing + adverb. In this case, need behaves as a modal verb and should be followed by an infintive form.

To deal with (something) is a phrasal verb, and there's not really much you can do about the with. It's part of the verb and needs to be there.

Red items need to be dealt with immediately after the process.

share|improve this answer
Thanks. I didn't know that is a part of a verb phrase. :) – xersi Jan 31 '13 at 13:02
When there is a preposition after a verb, always suspect a phrasal verb. They are probably at least as common as non-phrasal verbs, and there are certainly more of them. – John Lawler Jan 31 '13 at 18:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.