1. I recommend that people for the job if "something needs done".

  2. I recommend that people for the job if "something needs to be done".

Which is grammatically right? I am totally confused, usually I have heard sentences like we are done etc. So please tell.

  • The construction X needs done is never valid in standard English. I have no idea why so many people upvoted this ELU answer saying that This car needs washed "sounds completely normal to me", since almost all native speakers would say it's completely ungrammatical (and most of them will never have even heard it anyway, since it's primarily a feature of a substandard Central Pennsylvanian dialect). Nov 2, 2016 at 18:24
  • 1
    Note that "I recommend that people for the job..." is also completely ungrammatical; the result is that neither of these options is valid. Nov 2, 2016 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


First, as P.E. Dant points out, neither of these sentences are grammatical, so let's re-write the common portion so that they are grammatical:

"I recommend (these/those) people for the job if (it is/there is)

  1. something that needs done"

  2. something that needs to be done"

  3. something that needs doing"

Option 1 is ungrammatical, but as FumbleFingers says, it can exist as a dialect (a dialect is a system of deviations from a standard language that is used by a subgroup or regional population).

Option 2 is valid.

Option 3 (which I added) is also valid, if generally informal, and is something you might hear. I added it for completeness. Here, I should note, "doing" is a gerund*.

"Done" is an adjective indicating finished, terminated, or completed status. While it is linguistically related to "do", it is not grammatically related. When you have heard some on say "We are done" there is an unspoken implied "with X" appended to the end, where "X" is being used in the sense of a mathematical variable. So they might be saying "we are done with this project" or "we are done with work for today", etc.


Both of these are acceptable idiomatic expressions:

[Something] needs doing

[Something] needs to be done.

Both imply a future condition where [someone] is going to do [something] to resolve the situation. On the other hand, these expressions:

We are done [with something]

[Something] is done.

indicate a present condition where [something] is now complete.

The first example uses the gerund and infinitive forms of the verb "to do". The second is not actually the past tense of "to do" but rather "done" as an adjective, meaning complete.

Extensive tutorial on gerunds and infinitives

Also, as others pointed out in the comments, "I recommend that people for the job" is not grammatically correct. I'm not exactly sure what you want to say, but here are some suggestions:

I recommend we hire someone for the job if ...

I recommend we get someone to do the job if ...

I recommend Steve for the job if ...

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