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  1. #1
    suprunp's Avatar
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    Default we needed first and last for

    "Okay, so it's the end of the month, and we needed first and last for a new place that's cheaper. Nice move with the bank account, by the way, that was brilliant. Great way to provide for your son. So the only way we could get the cash was by getting back the last month's rent from the old place. [...]"
    (Benjamin Crowell; Running)

    I think that 'first and last' should play the role of an adverb here, but I can't understand why it is "we needed... for" instead of "we needed... a new place". My dictionaries state that I am to use 'for' with 'need' in 'need something for something' or 'a need for', but not in the construction in question (if I am right about 'first and last' being an adverb).

    Could you explain it to me?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    Could you explain it to me?
    No. I can't read the mind of the person who wrote that.

    I'd guess that they were thinking of '.. we felt a/the need for ...' and, having started the clause with 'we needed ...' , they carried on regardless.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    They need the first and last month's rent in order to move into an apartment that is cheaper. It is customary that one pays two months' rent when signing a lease. The last month's rent is held as a security deposit.

  4. #4
    suprunp's Avatar
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    They need the first and last month's rent in order to move into an apartment that is cheaper. It is customary that one pays two months' rent when signing a lease. The last month's rent is held as a security deposit.
    May I ask you one small question?

    Why not "we needed the first and last for a new place..."? Or is it common to just say 'we need first and last'?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    May I ask you one small question?

    Why not "we needed the first and last for a new place..."? Or is it common to just say 'we need first and last'?

    Thanks.
    I think it is fine either way. It's not common to use without stating "...month's rent."

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    May I ask you one small question?

    Why not "we needed the first and last for a new place..."? Or is it common to just say 'we need first and last'?

    Thanks.
    Because what you're actually saying, in a shortened form is: "We needed the rent for the first month and the rent for the last month in order to move into a cheaper apartment". That's a lot of words, especially repetition of the word "the" so we change the order and just put one "the" at the beginning which covers the rest of that part of the sentence, leaving "We need the first and last months' rent ..."

  7. #7
    suprunp's Avatar
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Because what you're actually saying, in a shortened form is: "We needed the rent for the first month and the rent for the last month in order to move into a cheaper apartment". That's a lot of words, especially repetition of the word "the" so we change the order and just put one "the" at the beginning which covers the rest of that part of the sentence, leaving "We need the first and last months' rent ..."
    If I've understood you right the original sentence should have had 'the' at the beginning so that we could easily catch on to what was meant and happily carry on instead of stopping and contemplating over it, but it misses it out. Why is this so?

    Thanks.

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: we needed first and last for

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    If I've understood you right the original sentence should have had 'the' at the beginning so that we could easily catch on to what was meant and happily carry on instead of stopping and contemplating over it, but it misses it out. Why is this so?

    Thanks.
    The whole piece is written fairly informally with a couple of instances of non-complete sentences. I imagine that "first and last" is perhaps a phrase which, in context, is understood to mean "the first and the last months' rent". It wouldn't mean anything to me without the rest of the piece though. As far as I'm concerned, they didn't just miss out "the", they missed out "months' rent" too. As I said, it's all pretty informal - "Great way to provide for your son" isn't a complete sentence either.

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