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Grammar Challenge


- Practice Quiz 1


- Practice Quiz 2


- Practice Quiz 3


- Use the grammar
Use the grammar

Have you ever made preparations for a trip or event like a wedding, party etc.?

What preparations did you make? What needed doing? Use 'need' plus verb-ing to tell us about it.

We'll publish our favourite five entries.

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Adek, Poland
Mooom! My shoes are dirty, they need cleaning! Could you clean them for me, please? Yes, I can, but you can just as well do it for yourself, Tom. Ah, mom, I have a holiday, I need having a rest. You'll have a rest when we are on holiday. It's not only you that needs having a rest, everybody needs. Hmmm, (Tom to himself) maybe these shoes don't need cleaning, do they? They only need putting into the rucksack, before Mom sees them.

Catherine says:
A funny story, Adek, thanks!

Some of your grammar needs looking at again. Remember that you can use this structure when you are talking about the receiver of the action of the -ing verb, not the agent. So you should change 'I need having a rest' to 'I need to have a rest', and 'It's not only you that needs having a rest', should change to 'It's not only you that needs to have a rest'.

But I do like the question tag you used here: '...maybe these shoes don't need cleaning, do they? - very nice, Adek!


Cat, France
I had to attend an important meeting last month and made a series of preparations. First, my power point presentation needed reviewing; second, the reports that I planned to deliver to the attendants needed multiplying; third, I had to be so dressy and my suits needed ironing.

Catherine says:
It's always a good idea to prepare for important meetings, Cat!

Cat, you have used need + verb-ing very well in this comment, but I'd like to suggest a vocabulary change, where you said 'the reports that I planned to deliver to the attendants needed multiplying'.

It would be better to say 'copying' like this: 'the reports that I planned to deliver to the attendants needed copying.

I hope the meeting went well, Cat!


Antonio, Spain
I arranged a dinner party a few days ago. That was a lot of work. The flat needed cleaning, the food needed shopping and preparing and the table needed laying. The day after, the kitchen needed cleaning.

Catherine says:
I hope the dinner party went well, Antonio!

You have used need + verb-ing very well Antonio, although I'd like to suggest a vocabulary change.

You wrote: 'the food needed shopping', but the verb 'to shop' is intransitive, which means it doesn't usually take an object. Your sentence would work much better if you used the transitive verb 'to buy' like this: 'the food needed buying.'

Thanks again for your comment, and keep logging on to Grammar Challenge, Antonio!


Jack, Poland
I organised my birthday party last year and a lot of things needed preparing. First of all, a week before the party, my friends needed informing about the time, place. Guests needed providing information about accomodation. Food needed choosing properly because three of my friends were vegetarians.

Catherine says:
I hope you had a good time, Jack!

Your comment has several very good uses of need + verb-ing, Jack, although you need to add a preposition to this sentence: 'Guests needed providing information about accomodation.' It would be better to say 'Guests needed providing with information about accomodation.'

Thanks again Jack!


Akhtar Mohammad Ziarmal, Afghanistan
I need preparing myself to the wedding. I have written some of the sentences as following:
1. I need purchasing new clothes.
2. My hair needs cutting.
3. My shoes need polishing.
4. My stuff needs arranging.
5. My body needs washing.
6. My girlfriend needs informing.
7. My girlfriend needs buying new clothes.
8. At the end it needs thanking.

Catherine says:
Thanks for your well-organised comment, Akhtar Mohammad!

Let's look at one or 2 sentences again. Remember that the thing that needs to have something done to it comes at the beginning of this construction. For example, in sentence 2 you wrote 'My hair needs cutting.' But in sentence number 1: 'I need purchasing new clothes - you have put the agent (the thing that is going to perform the action) at the beginning. So you need to rewrite sentence 1 like this:

'New clothes need purchasing'

or like this:

'I need to purchase new clothes' (this one is probably better)

You could aslo rewrite sentence 7 in the same way so that it reads: 'My girlfriend needs to buy some new clothes.

And your opening sentence could read:

I need to prepare myself...

One last point: I'm not sure what 'it' is in your final sentence: 'At the end it needs thanking.'

I hope the wedding goes well, Akhtar Mohammad!


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