More Participle Problems

Richard Hogg told The Queen’s English Society in March 2000 that The cats need fed is a Scottish construction, contrasting with ‘the English forms, either The cats need feeding or the more formal The cats need to be fed.’ He asked  ‘Should Scottish children who move to England be required to learn the English forms [and] what should happen if an English child moves to Scotland, and writes The cats need feeding? Should that be corrected to The cats need fed?’

I was reminded of this question on seeing a sign in a supermarket which read If you need anything slicing, just ask. Here, the Standard English form in England could just as well be If you need anything sliced, just ask. But the same is not true of The cats need feeding or, to use another example, My clothes need washing. My clothes need washed is not found in England. Does that make it non-standard? And if it is, why isn’t I’d like this sliced, please non-standard?

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One response to “More Participle Problems

  1. Pingback: Weinrich Revisited | Caxton

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