Grammar Guru: Needs to be done, or needs being done?

You can say “This laptop needs repairs” and, very elegant: “This laptop needs repairing.

But which of these two is correct:

  • “This laptop needs to be repaired.”
  • “This laptop needs being repaired.”

Yes, unfortunately I’ve worked my poor laptop so hard that it’s got several hardware problems now. One key sometimes doesn’t work (the 9), and the right loudspeaker sometimes goes silent on me. That must have to do with the many lunches I have had too close to the keyboard — and my somewhat percussive style of typing. You see, I was a real idiot when I was a teen and refused to learn to type with ten fingers, saying I didn’t want to be stuck in an office job. — So what do I do for a living today? Creative typing! And loud! And bouncy!

Another problem: The DVD-ROM drive doesn’t read discs ever since I dropped my laptop case one black day. I’ve got about 1/2 of my music collection imported onto this baby (and backed up) and have switched to iTunes for new stuff, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to play a DVD, you know?

OK, dear Apple Store, I’m afraid I’m going to have to bite the bullet and ask for an estimate. Is having repairs done going to be cheaper than a new laptop? Fingers crossed!

Guess what, Mr. Desktop, I’m coming back to you for a week. But don’t get your hopes up, baby, this is strictly temporary.

But first, I’m off to give a seminar for a few days. So, just in case, here’s your answer.

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Trainer/ coach from Washington, D.C. based in Berlin. Enthusiastic gardener, sailor, reader.

5 thoughts on “Grammar Guru: Needs to be done, or needs being done?”

  1. The final score:

    * This laptop needs to be repaired. (84%, 16 votes)
    * This laptop needs being repaired. (16%, 3 votes)
    Careful with the gerund, friends!
    I recommend learning the correct phrases you need by heart, e.g.

    My laptop needs fixing.
    My laptop needs to be fixed.

  2. Hi Subbu,
    I’m just guessing here, but maybe your reference is related to the third form of the verb, the participle, so v1=see, v2=saw, v3=seen?
    to be + seen = to be seen, the passive form of to see
    to be + heard = to be heard, the passive form of to hear
    All the best,

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