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    #1

    He needed to eat / eating.

    Hi,

    He found the courage to go outside because he needed to eat / eating.

    Which form of 'eat' should be used in this sentence? And why? Or both of them is possible.

    Thank you.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    I would say 'he needed to eat something' because 'he needed eating' sounds as if 'he needed to be eaten'.
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    #3

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    Quote Originally Posted by oksuz_ View Post

    He found the courage to go outside because he needed to eat/eating. [No spaces around the slash.]

    Which form of 'eat' should be used in this sentence? And why? Or are both of them is possible?
    Please note my corrections to your post especially the way to ask your question.

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    #4

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    Both are possible, but there is a difference in meaning.

    Need + infinitive indicates that the subject should perform that infinitive. Need + gerund indicates that said gerund should happen to the subject.

    He needed to eat. = He required food for sustenance.
    He needed eating. = Somebody or something should consume him.
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    #5

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    Can we say 'He' is the patient of 'eating' in 'He needed eating'?
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    #6

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    I've never known 'patient' to have that meaning.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    I found that meaning at http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionarie...nt_1?q=patient

    'patient
    3 (grammar) the person or thing that is affected by the action of the verb.'
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    #8

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    Quote Originally Posted by oksuz_ View Post
    Hi,

    He found the courage to go outside because he needed to eat / eating.

    Which form of 'eat' should be used in this sentence? And why? Or both of them is possible.

    Thank you.
    ...to eat.

    The context shows that "He" is fearful of going outside, yet finally did so because of the compelling motivation of needing to eat.

    Some have [facetiously?] suggested "... he needed eating", which is to say, he needed to be eaten. That is not logical as it fails to provide the necessary motivation to overcome the fear keeping him inside. Well, unless he has some very peculiar psychology at work; Vorarephilia is a possible, but rather extreme, explanation.

    The simplest, most obvious answer is, "...to eat".
    Last edited by ChinaDan; 09-Sep-2016 at 11:53. Reason: To more fully respond to OP

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    #9

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaDan View Post

    Some have [facetiously?] suggested "... he needed eating", which is to say, he needed to be eaten. That is not logical
    The suggestion was not facetious. It may not be logical, but that's the message the words convey, which is why 'eating' is the incorrect form.

    When 'need' is followed by an -ing form, that -ing form has a passive meaning (n BrE, at least):

    My trousers need pressing. = need to be pressed

    That essay needs rewriting. = need to be rewritten

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    #10

    Re: He needed to eat / eating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    Can we say 'He' is the patient of 'eating' in 'He needed eating'?
    No, but see Piscean's post #9 regarding how the gerund form does passivize things with the verb 'need' (it's the same in AmE).

    I think that may be what you're alluding to with this question.
    Last edited by Skrej; 09-Sep-2016 at 15:23. Reason: clarifiying in regard to 'need'
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