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This is the first sentence from President Biden's tweet:

I’m going to make sure the federal government does what’s needed to be done in Kentucky.

By the emboldened phrase, I think he means "what needs to be done". Is it a mere typo or is there more to using "is needed" instead of "needs"?

FYI, I've looked at an earlier thread saying that "what is needed to be done" could work, but I don't think such a reading would work in the current tweet, because such a reading would force the sentence to mean "I’m going to make sure the federal government does what’s needed for the federal government to be done in Kentucky," which I think is nonsensical.

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  • "what is needed [by the people] to be done [by the government]" -> passive + passive infinitive; "what needs to be done [by the government]" -> active + passive infinitive. -- Both are good.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 9:50
  • So is "make sure the federal government does what's needed in Kentucky." I would not have thought of Twitter as a hospitable platform for pleonasm, but there it is. Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 12:30
  • @Greybeard If both are good, how come this Ngram says otherwise?
    – listeneva
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 14:27
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    @BrianDonovan I don't think it's pleonasm, because what's needed is clearly different from what needs to be done.
    – listeneva
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 14:28
  • @listeneva 1. The Ngram shows the frequency not the "correctness". 2. Just because something is infrequent, does not mean that it is wrong.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 20:14

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