English Grammar

The floor needs cleaning. What about the elephant?

The clean floor doesn't need cleaning dirt cheap.
But the dirty floor needs cleaning.
That goes without saying, doesn't it?

Tranlating the French poet Lautréamont who said "L'éléphant se laisse caresser, le pou non." I give it a try this way:

The elephant lets itself petting, the louse doesn't.

Is that correct? or should I write:

The elephant lets itself petted, the louse doesn't.

May be both translations could be agreed?
Please tell me your mind. You needn't to have elephants down to a science to know. You just need to have English grammar down to a fine art to show me the right way.

By the way, do you still let you got petting? (or let you petting, or let you petted, as you prefer) If so, you might be an elephant. If not, you must be as proud as a peacock, or as ugly as a sin, or merely a louse.
What kind of sophism is at stake here?

Now for possible beginners, newcomers, newbies, rookies or other GG-users used to play hooky:
I bought that hat dirt-cheap -> I bought it for nothing.
I cleaned the floor but it was clean yet, so I did it dirt cheap -> unnecessarily.

Hey, you there reading me, I'm waiting for your opinion.


  • Well, lucky pal, the elephant could need cleaning if it were dirty.

    I don't know if the verb "need" allows a gerund to come after in such a construction and if the verb "let" doesn't. I don't know at all.

    Anyway as the figurative meaning of Lautréamont's saying is that pundits and big persons let themselves corrupted by flatteries, and that proles don't, I for one would rather say that the elephant lets itself petted. Just my feeling. Let's wait for a reply from a more knowledgable co-learner.
  • I want to point out that with the "need" construction there is no personal pronoun (itself) like it goes with "let".
    The elephant needs petting. We might think it is true because we notice that the elephant lets itself petted.

    Ha, ha! If the elephant let itself petting (we noticed that it was letting itself petting its keeper), that would mean that it took pleasure to pet its keeper with its trunk.
    What do you think of it?
  • Hey, the three of you. Don't make fuss about what is a mere grammar trifle.

    You are wrong, Lucky bod, as you line up need and let on the same track.
    You had best lining up make and let. Those two verbs call for a following infinitive.
    The daughter to her mother: Mum, make dad do the washing up and come and play with me.
    The son to his father: Dad, let mum do the washing up.
    The elephant keeper lets the mother-elephant pet its baby elephant.
    The baby elephant (may I call it a cub?) lets its mother pet itself. Yeah! It literally lets pet itself.
    As a result it lets itself be petted. (That you drop the 'be' on your way by saying "It lets itself petted", I dunno what a big bug that could be.)
    Anyway you are right thinking that the cub is so much fond of being petted, that it actually needs petting.
    The elephant keeper himself love so much his beast that he is fond of being petted by the big beast, thus he lets pet himself, or as you prefer, he lets himself be petted, eventually we may think he needs petting.
    About a gerund introduced by let, that's a different kettle of fish.
    If an elephant or its keeper could let themselves petting, isn't it that they are masturbating, each on their own or each other?
    That's a pending question, isn't it?
    I'm awaiting your sentence.
  • Thank you, pal. Petting oneself has got to being beyond me. Apart from that kettle of fish, my sentence is judging it right and crystal clear.

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