Annoying words, and Words You Hate

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby HES » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:46 am UTC

Common enough, but I think still second to "texted".
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:17 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:I don't mind "text" (as in SMS) being used as a verb, in fact I often do it myself. However, it sets my teeth on edge when I hear people use "text" as the past participle, e.g. "she text me last night to say she was going to be late". Is this common usage?


Yeah, I hear this a lot as well. Though assimilation of the dental past tense marker to a stem ending in a dental is common enough historically, this particular usage really rubs me the wrong way.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:18 pm UTC

I've never encountered "text" in the past tense, only "texted". Granted, I don't text much.

(Tangentially, I recently discovered that one of the longest allowable syllables in English, of the form CCCVCCCC, would be "squexts". Squid send each other squexts.)
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Mega85 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:09 am UTC

I remember seeing somewhere where it was stated that the longest one syllable word in English was "squirreled". Well, that depends on how you pronounce it. The word doesn't have one syllable in my speech, but two.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:28 am UTC

Wikipedia has a list. "Squirreled" (10 letters) is one of several questionable competitors, with "squirrelled" (11 letters) also appearing, even though there is no evidence anyone who spells it that way pronounces it as a monosyllable. If that doesn't count, then "broughammed" (11 letters) is definitely monosyllabic, though not so definitely a real word. The other 10 letter examples are pretty strange, though schmaltzed and strengthed do appear in the OED, while the longer examples are purely fictional.

It's not unusual in America to rhyme "squirrel" with "whirl," and "whirled" is definitely monosyllabic. That said, I do pronounce "squirrel" and "squirreled" as disyllables with a reduced second vowel. However, that is very unusual in Great Britain, where it is spelled "Squirrelled," though that doesn't mean no English speakers anywhere have that combination, making "squirrelled" a very good contender for the longest English monosyllable.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Mega85 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:38 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Wikipedia has a list. "Squirreled" (10 letters) is one of several questionable competitors, with "squirrelled" (11 letters) also appearing, even though there is no evidence anyone who spells it that way pronounces it as a monosyllable. If that doesn't count, then "broughammed" (11 letters) is definitely monosyllabic, though not so definitely a real word. The other 10 letter examples are pretty strange, though schmaltzed and strengthed do appear in the OED, while the longer examples are purely fictional.

It's not unusual in America to rhyme "squirrel" with "whirl," and "whirled" is definitely monosyllabic. That said, I do pronounce "squirrel" and "squirreled" as disyllables with a reduced second vowel. However, that is very unusual in Great Britain, where it is spelled "Squirrelled," though that doesn't mean no English speakers anywhere have that combination, making "squirrelled" a very good contender for the longest English monosyllable.


At least in my speech "whirled" has two syllables "whir-ld". The "l" forms a second syllable.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:59 am UTC

A syllable is a unit of sound, not spelling. The longest English monosyllables in use are "scrimped", "scrimps", "sprints", "squints", "strengths" (CCCVCCC) and "twelfths" (CCVCCCC), and the longest ones permissible by English phonotactics would, hypothetically, be words of the form CCCVCCCC like "squexts" or "strelfths". "Squirreled", if said as a monosyllable, would only be CCCVCC.

Syllabic breaking of /l/ in English can be messy. Myself, I pronounce "kale", "keel", "Cole", "cool", "Carl" and "curl" (and thus "squirreled") as monosyllables, but "Kyle", "cowl" and "coil" as disyllables.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Mega85 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:18 am UTC

Lazar wrote:A syllable is a unit of sound, not spelling. The longest English monosyllables in use are "scrimped", "scrimps", "sprints", "squints", "strengths" (CCCVCCC) and "twelfths" (CCVCCCC), and the longest ones permissible by English phonotactics would, hypothetically, be words of the form CCCVCCCC like "squexts" or "strelfths". "Squirreled", if said as a monosyllable, would only be CCCVCC.

Syllabic breaking of /l/ in English can be messy. Myself, I pronounce "kale", "keel", "Cole", "cool", "Carl" and "curl" (and thus "squirreled") as monosyllables, but "Kyle", "cowl" and "coil" as disyllables.


"kale", "keel", "Cole" and "cool" have one syllable for me. "Carl", "curl", "cowl" and "coil" have two syllables for me. I also have syllable breaking of /r/ in "fire", "coir" and "sour" which have two syllables for me. I have it in "tour" and "manure" which have two and three syllables for me, however other instances of historical /u/ before /r/ for me merge with either the vowel in "fur" in words like "cure", "pure", "sure" and "plural" or that in "corn" in words like "poor", "moor" and "Coors". That is, I have a three-way split. "tour" and "manure" rhyme with "brewer", "cure", "pure" and "sure" rhyme with "fur" and "poor" and "moor" rhyme with "core".

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:00 am UTC

The Wikipedia list is of English words commonly pronounced as one syllable and spelled with the most letters, which is admittedly an awkward approach. But either way you are going to run into problems with different pronunciations and imprecise definitions of "syllable".

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:03 am UTC

@Mega85: So you seem to have lost the historical /ʊɚ/ phoneme entirely. I have monosyllabic "par", "pear", "peer", "pour", "poor", "purr" and disyllabic "pyre", "sour", "coir" (had to look that one up!), and I keep /ʊɚ/ in "poor", "tour", "moor", "Coors" and the "-ure" words.

@Eebster: Well, a syllable is a single cluster of sounds, formed around a peak or nucleus (usually but not always a vowel), used as a building block of spoken words – and the rules for defining them are part of the phonology of a given language, dialect or idiolect. There can be some tricky edge cases, but for the most part I don't think identifying syllables poses too many problems. What might be harder is identifying phonemes – for example, determining if a speaker who says [stɹɛŋkθs] actually has a /k/ phoneme there, or is merely making an epenthetic sound. As far as I know, though, the CCCVCCCC limit is a pretty solid one in English.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:10 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:A syllable is a unit of sound, not spelling. The longest English monosyllables in use are "scrimped", "scrimps", "sprints", "squints", "strengths" (CCCVCCC) and "twelfths" (CCVCCCC), and the longest ones permissible by English phonotactics would, hypothetically, be words of the form CCCVCCCC like "squexts" or "strelfths". "Squirreled", if said as a monosyllable, would only be CCCVCC.

Syllabic breaking of /l/ in English can be messy. Myself, I pronounce "kale", "keel", "Cole", "cool", "Carl" and "curl" (and thus "squirreled") as monosyllables, but "Kyle", "cowl" and "coil" as disyllables.


I think I pronounce them all as monosyllables, on the basis that I pronounce them all as disyllables when suffixing -ing, without changing the sound of the first syllable.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Mega85 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:34 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:@Mega85: So you seem to have lost the historical /ʊɚ/ phoneme entirely. I have monosyllabic "par", "pear", "peer", "pour", "poor", "purr" and disyllabic "pyre", "sour", "coir" (had to look that one up!), and I keep /ʊɚ/ in "poor", "tour", "moor", "Coors" and the "-ure" words.


You'd consider the "-our" in "tour" to be a single phoneme, and not a sequence of /u/ following by /r/? In Scottish English, "tour" would definitely be considered to end in /u/ followed by /r/, considering that they distinguish the vowels in "fern", "fir" and "fur" and the vowels in "horse" and "hoarse". But I guess in American English which doesn't allow very many vowels to occur before [r] that makes sense.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:37 am UTC

Lazar wrote:A syllable is a unit of sound, not spelling. The longest English monosyllables in use are "scrimped", "scrimps", "sprints", "squints", "strengths" (CCCVCCC) and "twelfths" (CCVCCCC), and the longest ones permissible by English phonotactics would, hypothetically, be words of the form CCCVCCCC like "squexts" or "strelfths". "Squirreled", if said as a monosyllable, would only be CCCVCC.

If you count the "r" as a separate consonant (instead of part of an rhotic vowel) it's CCCVCCC, though that's an arbitrary distinction.

Syllabic breaking of /l/ in English can be messy. Myself, I pronounce "kale", "keel", "Cole", "cool", "Carl" and "curl" (and thus "squirreled") as monosyllables, but "Kyle", "cowl" and "coil" as disyllables.

I think I would say that only "coil" is disyllabic.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:26 am UTC

I've just been reminded of something else that I find mildly annoying, which is a particular usage of "already". In UK English, "already" is, to the best of my knowledge, only ever used for events in the past:

"I've already watered the plants today".
"I've already seen that film".
"He was already there when I arrived this morning".

In US English though, as well as the above, it seems to be used for emphasis or to indicate impatience:

"Just do it already!"
"Hurry up and get in the car already!"

To me this doesn't make any sense (although when I think about it I struggle to explain why the first three examples do). Is this seen as slang/colloquialism, or standard usage?
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Carlington » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:59 am UTC

Apparently (sense 3), it's from Yiddish shoyn which is in turn from German schon, both of which translate as already but which in Yiddish is used to express exasperation and impatience. I don't believe that schon can be used this way in German, but I'm not a native speaker.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby speising » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:42 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Apparently (sense 3), it's from Yiddish shoyn which is in turn from German schon, both of which translate as already but which in Yiddish is used to express exasperation and impatience. I don't believe that schon can be used this way in German, but I'm not a native speaker.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:37 pm UTC

It makes as much sense as using "presently" to mean "soon."

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:49 am UTC

Something else that grates on me (and I must be starting to sound quite cantankerous now) is the recent trend on this side of the Atlantic to be "excited for" something rather than "excited about" it, e.g. "I'm really excited for the weekend". I assumed it was something imported into the language from American English, but this morning Facebook asked me "Are you excited about the Olympics?", so is it a secondary/informal/colloquial form there too?
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Monika » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:04 am UTC

German schon is used in sentences like Setz dich schon mal ins Auto - Go already sit in the car, but it does not indicate impatience, rather you go ahead, I will follow in some minutes. To express impatience we use endlich - finally! Setz dich endlich ins Auto - Go sit in the car already/finally!
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby chridd » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:07 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:Something else that grates on me (and I must be starting to sound quite cantankerous now) is the recent trend on this side of the Atlantic to be "excited for" something rather than "excited about" it, e.g. "I'm really excited for the weekend". I assumed it was something imported into the language from American English, but this morning Facebook asked me "Are you excited about the Olympics?", so is it a secondary/informal/colloquial form there too?
To me (US) both forms seem equally valid; if one is considered informal or colloquial, this is the first I've heard about it (though for me, not hearing about such things is definitely possible; also this is the first time I've heard anyone object to that usage). It feels to me like they mean slightly different things, but thinking about it, I'm not sure. At least, "for" seems to only make sense for upcoming events, whereas I think "about" would make sense for both upcoming things and things that are already happening and perhaps things that have already happened.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:11 pm UTC

The Google Books corpus shows little American/British difference in the relative frequencies of "excited for" and "excited about", though of course that doesn't distinguish between "excited for someone" (as in "excited on someone's behalf") and "excited for something.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:13 pm UTC

I'm from the U.S., and while both seem quite acceptable to me (and I hear both very frequently), "excited for" does give me a vague feeling of colloquialism or informality. I would guess that "excited for" might be more common among younger speakers. But all this is just my very vague intuition.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:39 pm UTC

Here are Google's ngrams for "excited for the,excited about the": British, American. In both cases, "for" was dominant until the late 19th century, with "about" becoming increasingly dominant since then. Since 2000 both show a slight rise in "for" and AmEng shows a slight fall in "about", but at least as of 2008, "about" still seems to have the upper hand by a huge margin.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby measure » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:25 pm UTC

Maybe this has been around for a while, but I seem to have run into it a lot more just this year than I have previously: phrases like "This needs fixed" that lack "to be" before the past-tense transitive verb. I want to apply a lot of fixed to this usage so that it will have fixed and no longer need fixed!

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:50 pm UTC

That one's been discussed pretty widely among language folks online – I'd say that the "fixed" there is a participle, though, not a past tense form. It's associated with Scotland and Western Pennsylvania, and probably a few other places.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:31 pm UTC

Is it meaningfully distinct from, say, "this smells rigged"? It looks like an ordinary linking verb and an ordinary participle to me.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Mega85 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:30 am UTC

measure wrote:Maybe this has been around for a while, but I seem to have run into it a lot more just this year than I have previously: phrases like "This needs fixed" that lack "to be" before the past-tense transitive verb. I want to apply a lot of fixed to this usage so that it will have fixed and no longer need fixed!


Yeah. "this needs fixed" sounds wrong to me. "this needs to be fix" or maybe even "this needs fixing" sound better to me.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:17 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Is it meaningfully distinct from, say, "this smells rigged"? It looks like an ordinary linking verb and an ordinary participle to me.
Except, "needs" isn't an ordinary linking verb and "fixed" would seem to be the wrong participle even if it were.

This [linking verb] rigged = This [linking verb] like it is rigged
This [linking verb] fixed = This [linking verb] like it is fixed

But that isn't the meaning of, "This needs fixed."
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:45 am UTC

True. Feels like there ought to be another example out there, though; it seems like a really natural structure to me, and I could believe that I'd simply never noticed it before, but I'm not convinced yet. The weirdness definitely inheres in "needs" here, since "fixed" could be "broken" or "done" or "baked" or "shotgunned" or whatever else and be equally parsable. "Wants" can be used in at least some of those cases. but obvious synonyms like "requires" and "desires" don't work (obviously, most would "work", with a different implied structure, with a gerund form in place of the participle - could it be some kind of slippage from there?)
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:05 pm UTC

Are you saying that "needs done" and "needs broken" are grammatical to you? Or "wants fixed"? You're right that those all fit a similar pattern, but the point is that for most of us the pattern is ungrammatical.

For me the problem is that "need" isn't a linking verb (though as I said above it wouldn't have the same meaning if it were), and "to be" can't be omitted after verbs like "need" and "want".
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:44 pm UTC

To look at it another way, different verbs "expect" different objects.

"Looks", "smells", "seems", "sounds" etc. all expect an adjective. This looks wrong, she smells nice, that seems difficult, this sounds funny.

"Needs", "wants" etc. expect a noun or gerund, specifically a transitive verb gerund. This needs fixing, she wants comforting.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:14 pm UTC

Yeah, I was thinking that earlier, but rapidly becoming less sure as I couldn't think of further exceptions.

gmalivuk wrote:Are you saying that "needs done" and "needs broken" are grammatical to you? Or "wants fixed"? You're right that those all fit a similar pattern, but the point is that for most of us the pattern is ungrammatical.

For me the problem is that "need" isn't a linking verb (though as I said above it wouldn't have the same meaning if it were), and "to be" can't be omitted after verbs like "need" and "want".


"This needs done" is an entirely grammatical statement to me and I wouldn't pause at it, yes. I'm not sure if the "wants" constructions in general sound as natural to me, but in a context like "he wants included on the committee," yeah, again, I just wouldn't notice it; it doesn't stand out as anything special, no more than it would with adverbial "in"or "out" instead, "he wants in." (I also can't fully accept that an adverb is the job that word is doing in that case in the first place, but that probably isn't relevant.)

You're right that it's not the usual linking verb arrangement because the relationship is different, and I'm not arguing that. I'm trying to figure out whether there are other words that work like this and it's its own thing, or whether it's just an idiomatic omission of "to be", and simultaneously wondering where it is I've been so thoroughly exposed to it that you folks haven't (other than the US midwest, which is a possible answer.)
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:00 pm UTC

I live in Cleveland and can't recall ever hearing it. I asked my brother and he's never heard it either. From what I've read online, the phrase seems narrowly focused in PA, especially Pittsburgh, though with occasional smatterings elsewhere in the Midwest (a few people mentioned Columbus, for example). There are lots of colloquialisms like this. For instance, I had never heard of a "sweeper" until a few weeks ago.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:15 pm UTC

This is speculative as hell, but I was looking at maps of church affiliation recently and noted that there's an area of high Presbyterian presence that corresponds pretty closely to the Western Pennsylvania dialect area. This might lend a little weight to the idea of it being a Scotticism.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Grop » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:25 pm UTC

I am not a native speaker, but I thought constructions such as "needs done" or "wants fixed" were quite clever.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:50 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I live in Cleveland and can't recall ever hearing it. I asked my brother and he's never heard it either. From what I've read online, the phrase seems narrowly focused in PA, especially Pittsburgh, though with occasional smatterings elsewhere in the Midwest (a few people mentioned Columbus, for example). There are lots of colloquialisms like this. For instance, I had never heard of a "sweeper" until a few weeks ago.

"Needs fixed" is very common here in Pittsburgh. I use it sometimes, but I'm not sure if I picked it up after moving to Pittsburgh or if I got it from my Pittsburgh-born mother.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:16 pm UTC

Grop wrote:I am not a native speaker, but I thought constructions such as "needs done" or "wants fixed" were quite clever.


Are "needs doing" and "wants fixing" any less clever?
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Grop » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:30 pm UTC

I wouldn't say that. I doesn't seem very different, also.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

Well, they're gerunds, so that construction is a bit easier to parse.

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gmalivuk
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:14 pm UTC

Yeah, those aren't participles, so it's a completely different structure.

"needs" + past participle: needs fixed, needs done, needs interested, needs bored
"needs" + present participle: needs interesting, needs boring
"needs" + gerund: needs fixing, needs doing

For me it's ungrammatical with both types of participle, but completely fine with gerunds.
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