If one came home a little tired and emotional and knocked over the gatepost, the next morning one could say any of these things:

The gate needs fixing. (1)

The gate needs to be fixed. (2)

First, does the first construction have a name? That is, what part of speech is "Fixing" in this usage? It's a bit like a noun, as in, "I need a drink;" but it seems that it's special because it comes from the verb "to fix."

Secondly, has the use of this construction increased dramatically recently?

I seem to hear it all the time now, particularly in speech. I used to feel it was a British English thing, but I hear it in USA too. I hear things like this all the time now, "The fire needs putting out." "The shed needs painting." "The list needs sorting." etc.

To be clear, I'm asking if usage (1) has recently increased dramatically in usage over method (2). I am sure I have perceived such an increase. I was also interested in whether there's a name for "fixing" or "painting" or "sorting" when used like this.

Also, to clarify, I'm not saying the "needs fixing" construction is new. I can remember hearing it all my life, back to the 1950s. I'm asking whether there's been a recent dramatic increase in how often people say it compared to the alternatives, such as, "the car needs to be fixed."



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