I heard this phrase at a restaurant the other day - in Sheffield, England. The waitress said first, "Do you want anything else getting?", and then after that, "Do you want the bill grabbing?"

This sounds like a very strange form of the passive to me, as if it's using the progressive -ing instead of the passive participle -ed. I guess the standard sentence would be "Do you want the bill to be grabbed" if you wanted to coerce it into the passive, although "Do you want me to grab the bill" sounds far more natural.

Where does this phrasing comes from? Does it belong to a particular Northern dialect? I've never heard it in Sheffield or anywhere else before. Also, what's going on syntactically in this sentence?

  • Was the waitress a native speaker? --that's a very German sort of phrasing, with the -ing form for the infinitive. – StoneyB Jun 4 '17 at 23:12
  • Yeah, she had a Northern accent. Not sure if Sheffield or not. – Lou Jun 4 '17 at 23:33
  • You can't just interview her? – aparente001 Jun 5 '17 at 6:34
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    @aparente001 As I say, using a construction doesn't equal knowing why TBH I was only very dimly aware that this was non-standard. I think the particular set-up Leo asks about is confined to questions. I might say 'I'm off to Tesco, is there anything you want fetching?', or 'I feel like baking, is there anything you want making?'. Would a sentence like 'The grass needs cutting' or 'those papers want filing' sound strange to you as well? – Spagirl Jun 6 '17 at 0:54
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    @Spagirl - Thanks! Those sound totally fine to me, actually. But that grabbing still sounds so weird to me. Anyway, I think what you put in your comment should go into an answer, albeit a partial answer, since comments are ephemeral. – aparente001 Jun 6 '17 at 2:31

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