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Please adivse is it correct to say:

All you need is pick up a phone and call.

All he does is sit in fronnt of the TV all day.

Sentences like these sound familiar to me, but both of them seem not grammatical..
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All you need to do is to pick up a phone and call.

front.
I see. Thank you.
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Besides what nona said

  • All you need is to pick up a phone and call.
is fine as well.

  • All he does is to sit in front of the TV.

  • All he does is sitting in front of the TV all day.
  1. to sit suggest an one-time action

  2. sitting should be better because of all day
I use the past to show more clearly

  • All he did was to sit in front of the TV.

  • All he did was sitting in front of the TV all day.
All he was doing was sitting in front of the TV all day.

is possible as well, it could suggest some constant behavior in the past but for a shorter period, during a holiday maybe.

Maybe All he did was to sit in front of the TV. is not a good example

All he knew was to turn on the TV.

"All he does is sit" is fine according to the editors at nytimes.com:

  1. RED CARPET: THE AWARDS SEASON -- THE UNDERFINANCED PRODUCTION COMPANY; Darcy, You Big Ape!

    ... a newspaper. All he does is sit in his great house, ...

    January 15, 2006 - (NYT) - Arts - News - 743 words
  2. The Probability That a Real-Estate Agent Is Cheating You (and Other Riddles of Modern Life)

    ... tell you that all he does is sit at his desk, day ...

    August 3, 2003 - By Stephen J. Dubner (NYT) - Magazine - News - 5060 words
  3. Observer; SITTING TIGHT

    ... the mustard. All he does is sit tight.'' If ...

    March 6, 1982 - By Russell Baker (NYT) - Opinion - Op-Ed - 870 words



Nona's however right, according to the editors at nytimes.com:

RECOMMENDED ROUTE

... . All you need to do is to pick up a map at the tourist ...
June 12, 1983 - By Erica Brown (NYT)
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
You are going to confuse Ethanw only. Emotion: smile All are fine but but but.

All you need to do is to pick up a phone and call. correct and full expression

All you need is to pick up a phone and call. is fine as well (What I need is to eat. is good, What I need to do is to eat is not that good, What I need to do now is to eat is good again, What I need is eat is wrong)

All you need is pick up a phone and call.

This is fine, this is from the imperative form and is useful - if you know what you are doing.

"Pick up that phone and call, you idiot!" => "All you need is pick up a phone and call!"

or from

All you need is: pick up a phone and call.

An infinitive without to is used when you say what someone does or should do

  • All he did was open the door. <= The thing/action he did was opening the door.
  • What the engine does is cool the water. <= What the engine does is: cool the water.


  • In our case, well, it could fit into the rule

    All you need [to do now] is pick up a phone and call.

    The subject must start with all or what. But, the restriction of using bare infinitive (infinitive without to) is more special and must be understood.

    For someone who is learning English all this is maybe too much to understand. One who learns English cannot go into peculiarities that deep, I think. Actually only the first one is really fine for someone who learns English, the second I added only to explain that it is not really always needed to say "to do is to", the third usage is definitely advanced.

    However without the explanation, the one who asked remains very confused.

    [Not to forget, without all day you may say as well

    All he does is sit in front of the TV.

    which means The thing/action he does is sit (once) in front of the TV. is fine, but all day simply draws to

    All he does is sitting in front of the TV all day.]
Hi, Aperisic:

Thank you a lot for taking so much time and effort to explain. But you are right, as an English learner, the simple traditional usage is what I need.

Best regards