Dean Witter needs to be managing your retirement portfolio.

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flamboyant lad

Senior Member
Hindi
Namaste gurus!

It's from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness

Context: Chris works for a brokerage firm named Dean Witter.

Chris to prospective client: Dean Witter needs to be managing your retirement portfolio.

I don't understand the sentence structure and meaning of the preceding sentence.

Self-made sentence: Dean Witter needs to manage your retirement portfolio.

I understand the sentence structure of the self-made sentence.

Do the original and the self-made sentence have the same meaning?

Thanks!
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, essentially the same meaning – the continuous tense adds the action of constant monitoring, which makes it sound more like the company is involved day to day, perhaps hour to hour.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Note that He needs to manage your affairs here means (I strongly recommend that) he should manage them, not He is likely to have a mental breakdown or some other crisis if he doesn't. Personally, I find this usage rather irritating, because we are not discussing his needs. He needs to buck his ideas up. But this is also an interesting example of a quasi-modal expanding its territory.
     
    Last edited:

    flamboyant lad

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Chris to prospective client: Dean Witter needs to be managing your retirement portfolio.
    Thanks everyone for the explanations.

    Being a non-native speaker it is hard for me to understand the preceding sentence, especially "to be managing" part.

    Could someone please rewrite that sentence with "is"? e.g.

    1. I think him to be honest.
    2. I think he is honest.

    Thanks!
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Needs to" is here a quasi-modal equivalent to "should". The sentence means "Dean Witter should manage your portfolio", except that the sentence is in the continuous aspect (tense).
     
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