A coworker insisted that this sentence was incorrect but I argued that it is correct. Here is the sentence in question:

There are potholes that need attended to right away on southbound I-75 near Dearborn Street.

  • Should be "need to be attended to", "need attending to", "need tending to", "need attention", and several others.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:25
  • At first this sounded okay to me, but then again, I'm an uneducated Pennsylvanian...! Jul 13, 2016 at 18:21
  • I grew up in Oakdale, Pa. I left 40 years ago and it sounds perfectly fine to me. Never knew it was regional. The car needs gassed, the dog wants fed, and the weeds need sprayed.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jul 13, 2016 at 20:41
  • Ah shucks. Somebody deleted their comment about how this makes sense to uneducated Pennsylvanians, so now my comment makes me look even more uneducated! Jul 14, 2016 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


If you want to keep your original tone, then you could use:

"There are potholes that need tending to right away on southbound I-75 near Dearborn Street.

OR you can be a bit more direct with it:

"There are potholes that need immediate attention on southbound I-75 near Dearborn Street."

  • Not 'tending to' unless you're from my neck of the woods :).
    – John
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:36
  • 1
    @John From: dictionary.com/browse/tending tend verb (used with object) 1. to attend to by work or services, care, etc.: to tend a fire.
    – rattler418
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:18
  • To my ear "tending" (without the following "to") only applies to something like a fire which requires regular and repeated attention. One would hope that potholes are fixed properly and would not need such regular attention (though I suppose in some cities that may not be the case).
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:29
  • 1
    @John What is your "neck of the woods"? "need tending to" sounds perfectly fine to me (as a Brit), even if not very common.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 13, 2016 at 18:09
  • @TrevorD, Texas. To me, it comes across sounding hillbilly. It has a colloquial feel to me. 'Git tendin to yur crops', 'Best tend yur bizness now'. But good to know. Thanks.
    – John
    Jul 13, 2016 at 18:24

Your coworker is correct.

The sentence in question should be:

There are potholes that need to be attended right away on southbound I-75 near Dearborn Street.


There are potholes that need attending right away on southbound I-75 near Dearborn Street.

Source: http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu/needs-washed

  • 1
    Except in those dialects where "needs attended" are grammatical. Central Pennsylvanian, according to the comment above, and also parts of Northern England and Scotland.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:47
  • I didn't downvote, but maybe it's because it should be 'need to be attended to'.
    – John
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:34
  • Both of them need, at minimum, a "to" ahead of "right away".
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:27
  • If you attend to a pothole, you mean you pay attention to it. If you attend a pothole, you mean it's an event, like a rally or concert which you attend.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 14, 2016 at 16:12

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