There has been a really irritating spread, into (mostly the spoken) language, of the use of the verbal phrase "to need to". This is most commonly found in the mouths of minor officials or bullying diplomats, as in "You need to remove all the keys and change from your pockets" or "Saddam needs to stop hiding his weapons."

It's not like that; the security guard wants me to empty my pockets, and Bush wants Saddam to stop hiding weapons. Dressing up an imperative/request like this in the language of necessity is vile trick, and at the end of the day a lie. Say what you mean, please.


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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February 14, 2003
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