Possible Duplicates:
Central Pennsylvanian English speakers: what are the limitations on the “needs washed” construction?
Using -ed vs. -ing in the “needs washed” construction
Should I say “Needs cleaned…” or “Needs to be cleaned…”

I have a friend who instead of saying something like

The dishes need to be done

will say

The dishes need done

He seems to use this form for every sentence that I would say as "[subject] need to be [verb]" (i.e., "the car needs washed", "the dog needs fed", etc.). Is one of these forms "more correct" than the other?

  • I think he should be using a gerund instead (need doing, needs washing), but I don't have a good source for why this is correct. Otherwise, your construction is correct (need to be done).
    – Kit Z. Fox
    May 31, 2011 at 17:26
  • 1
    Your friend would make a terrible Hamlet. May 31, 2011 at 17:28
  • 1
    or not, that is the question.
    – Jez
    May 31, 2011 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


"Needs verbed" is a common but not universal regional usage (western PA and environs). The correct way to render this is either "needs verbing" or "needs to be verbed". Here in Pittsburgh we sometimes wonder if local performances of Hamelt should reduce his famous line to "or not". :-)


"Needs to be done/washed/fed" is the correct way of saying it, I think.

"Needs done" sounds incomplete, but I found out, on Askville and also on the English Forums.com, that it is a regional way of speaking (in the first site, they specify it's from the Midwest, but I haven't more info on that).