Is it correct to use a preposition in this usage?

  • Tommy doesn't need any shouting at, he does as he is told.
  • Tommy doesn't need shouted at, he does as he is told.

Or is the preposition here redundant and even wrong?

  • I would typically construct this with the infinitive: "Tommy doesn't need to be shouted at, ...".
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 25, 2015 at 12:24
  • What preposition? The second version doesn't look correct even.
    – Kris
    Feb 25, 2015 at 12:58
  • The first example is perfectly idiomatic. The second is neither grammatical nor idiomatic.
    – WS2
    Feb 25, 2015 at 13:04
  • The second example is not broadly acceptable, but it seems to be a growing trend in a regional dialect in Pennsylvania.
    – ScotM
    Feb 25, 2015 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


The most correct and broadly acceptable way of phrasing this would be to add the infinitive to be:

Tommy doesn't need to be shouted at, he does as he is told.

The first version from your question is acceptable in colloquial speech, but the use of the phrasal verb "shouted at" in this way is slightly unusual and may be judged ungrammatical by some speakers.

The second version depends on dialect. There are dialects of English in which needs + PAST PARTICIPLE is idiomatic, and in these dialects Tommy doesn't need shouted at is probably a grammatical construction. But speakers from other dialects will probably find this to be ungrammatical as well.

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