someone has their work cut out (for them) - form and meaning

JACEK1

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Hello everybody!

I know what expression "someone has their work cut out (for them)" means.

What I would like to know is whether or not this phrase may be followed by ING form or to infinitive.

For instance:

Should I say:

She'll really have her work cut out to finish all those reports by the end of the week.

or

She'll really have her work cut out finishing those reports by the end of the week.

or maybe both the variants are possible and it does not matter whether I use ING form or to infinitive.

What is your opinion?

As far as the meaning of the phrase is concerned, I would like to ask another question.

Does the sentence "She'll really have her work cut out to finish/finishing all those reports by the end of the week" mean that all the hard work consists of / involves / entails / means (her) finishing all those reports by the end of the week?

What do you think?

Thank you
 

emsr2d2

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I'd use "finishing".

"She'll really have her work cut out finishing all those reports by the end of the week" means that it will be very challenging for her to do finish them by the deadline. She might or might not succeed.
 

JACEK1

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Do you rule out the use of to infinitive in this structure?
 

emsr2d2

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Personally, yes.
 

JACEK1

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So, the conclusion is that it is always better to use ING form with the structure, am I right?
 

emsr2d2

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For me, yes.
 

emsr2d2

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Interesting. I've never used that form and I don't think I've heard it used.
 

JACEK1

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Yes, exactly. That is where I took it from. I thought to myself that I had no right to undermine the opinion of people who have spoken English since they were born whereas I have been learning it for forty years but it is not my native language.
 

teechar

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Interesting. I've never used that form and I don't think I've heard it used.
I always took it to be the standard form used by (and instantly recognizable to) native speakers, although I don't suppose the -ing form is wrong or unnatural.

Here are two more dictionaries that use the infinitive form in their example sentences.

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/to-have-your-work-cut-out
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/have_one's_work_cut_out
 

Rover_KE

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I too prefer 'to finish', but they are both acceptable.
 

Raymott

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