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Language tip of the week: need

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about the patterns that follow the noun need:

When the noun need is followed by another noun, use the preposition for, not of:



✗ Due to continuous immigration from the mainland, the need of land has increased.
✓ Due to continuous immigration from the mainland, the need for land has increased.

The preposition of is used only in the fixed phrases to be in need of and to have need of:

Support is available for those who are in need of it.
We have no need of this old software now that we have a new system.

When the noun need is followed by a verb, use the infinitive, not the -ing form:

✗ People feel this fundamental need of organizing things.
✓ People feel this fundamental need to organize things.

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Liz Potter

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