An irksome and aggravating linguistic trend, a popular mistake, has now spread so wide through English-speaking culture that it’s included in the firmware of my MacBook Pro.
“You need to restart your computer.”
Whether you are a programmer explaining how I should cope with your system’s collapse, or a bureaucrat describing how best I should waddle through the maze of your forms, or anyone else attempting to enforce petty personal rules, one thing is certain: I don’t need this. I don’t need to fill out your form 2319-A. I don’t need to put down my video camera in your store. And I definitely do not need to restart the computer that moments ago held my unsaved work.
These needs are your needs. Not mine. I’m not the needy person in this relationship. My needs are simple: for things to work, for people to speak English correctly, and for certain individuals — really, just a handful of them — to fuck off. And those off-fucking people have needs too, I’m sure. I don’t think it would be healthy for me to project my off-fucking needs onto them, when they are so needy already. They don’t need to fuck off and die. I need for them to fuck off and die, and decompose, and be forgotten, and perhaps implode. That’s different.
The correct phrasing therefore is: “Your computer needs you to restart it.”