1. ard.houtstaak
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    ard.houtstaak New Member

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    Now I am lost: need or needs

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ard.houtstaak, Oct 13, 2011.

    Hi,

    Maybe someone could help me out with this:

    "The excessive spheres without sensitivity need a moment for reflection"

    Is it: need or needs.

    My line reasoning was: the excessive spheres (= it), without sensitivity, needs (it needs) a moment for reflection; but strangely enough I also could imagine to put need in there as well.

    Love,
    Arianne
     
  2. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I'm not a grammar expert, but I do know that if the noun is plural, the verb is "singular". It's not "it needs" it's "they need".
     
  3. chellelouj16
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    chellelouj16 New Member

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    Dear ard,
    In this kind of sentence, you will use need. The verb which is need in this sentence should depend on the kind of subject you're using. In this manner, the subject is excessive spheres which is plural in form so we use the base form of the verb. If the subject given is singular, more likely you will use the verb with additional "s".
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'need' is the wrong word, singular or plural... 'spheres' can't 'need' anything... what you seem to mean here is 'call for'...

    your reasoning was faulty in that it would only be singular if you had written 'the excess of spheres' since 'excess' is a noun.... 'excessive' is only an adjective quantifying 'spheres' which is the subject/noun... but 'need' would still be the wrong word even if that change was made...

    also, 'a moment for reflection' is awkward, as well... should be 'of' not 'for' to make good sense...
     
  5. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    I'm not sure I understand the logic of not being able to use "need." Without context, I have to assume these aren't regular spheres. Why can't a sphere "need" something, maybe a static charge or whatever these spheres require to work? Why can't a car need a battery or a computer need a monitor? ? If it's a case of applying the verb to an inanimate object, why can't an inanimate object "need" something? After all, Shakespeare thought it was okay that good wine needs no bush and the world needs to fear no colours.

    Brooks don't really babble and cars don't really groan or choke. Fingers don't do the walking. We can't put a stranglehold on the use of every single verb.

    I agree the sentence needs to be rearranged, though.
     
  6. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    since we are not aware of the characterists of the sphere's, 'a moment for relection' may well be correct. There is is different meaning to 'for reflection' and 'of reflection'

    'I try to find some time each day 'for reflection'.

    I had a moment 'of reflection'.
     
  7. ard.houtstaak
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    ard.houtstaak New Member

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    Thank you all for your reflections, esp about the word need itself.
    @mammamia: if something call for something it need something, isn't it?

    @evelon: it is indeed my suggestion to say 'for reflection'.
    Am i correct if i suggest that of reflection suggest something in the past? And for reflection in the future or happening now?

    @lostinwebspace: thank you for your reflection! What do you suggest as a rearranged sentence?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not necessarily... if we say something [such as a 'situation'] calls for something, it can mean it's apparent that action/thought/reflection may be helpful, though not necessarily 'needed'...
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That does seem to be over strict. If I say "This curry needs more chilli" it's more natural (and less anthropomorphic) than "this curry calls for more chilli". In an academic context it would be more accurate to say "I would prefer this curry to have more chilli", but in an everyday context it's fine to say that something non-sentient needs something.
     
  10. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    It might just need commas. It looks like quite a lot to get out in one "breath."

    That might work unless there are spheres with sensitivity and ones without. (The commas imply that all excessive spheres are without sensitivity.)

    This, of course, assumes that the context will make the sentence easier to understand. For instance, I've never heard of a sphere being described as excessive. Excessive in what way? Are they surplus, too big? Maybe "The overgrown spheres" or "The extra spheres" would fit better. Or is it an open compound noun ("excessive sphere," like "butterknife")? Just seems like a weird adjective.

    Anyway, I'm still going to assume these spheres are special in some way, maybe even sentient.

    Without any sensitivity, the excessive spheres need time to reflect. (?)
     

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