"You want punched out?"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu May 26 00:05:58 UTC 2011

At 5/25/2011 02:54 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

>... We've discussed this construction here in the past, as y'uns know.
>My own notion (no doubt presented previously by somebody) is that it
>might be viewed as involving "to get" deletion rather than (or in
>addition to) "to be" deletion.
>Various constructions have 'optional' "to get" deletion (I realize that
>these are not all exactly comparable grammatically, but I suppose the
>form might have spread from the more-ordinary to the less-ordinary):
>Ordinary (I think):
>He needs [to get] some whiskey.
>I want [to get] more exercise.
>Ordinary (I think) but sometimes said to be regional:
>The dog wants [to get] out.
>I want [to get] in.
>Less ordinary, dialectal/regional(?):
>Excuse me, I need [to get] past.
>I need [to get] out of Ohio.

But the above don't have past participles?

And I would say that some of them are more than regional -- esp. "I
want in" (or "out").

And does the regionality apply only, or mainly, to those that *do*
omit a part particple -- e.g., the ones below?


>Dialectal (Scots-Irish-Pittsburgh or whatever):
>The car needs [to get] washed.
>Do you want [to get] punched in the nose?
>He just wants [to get] laid.
>Even more restricted (I think):
>My cat likes [to get] spanked.
>In my own experience (of course not necessarily representative) the
>"needs washed" construction is used very frequently in Pittsburgh
>vicinity and less frequently in Columbus OH but is unheard[-of] in
>Detroit or Chicago. Various persons have said that it's usual in central
>PA and eastern OH. And of course it must occur to some extent in any
>place to which people have moved from Pittsburgh.
>-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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