I struggle myself with it.

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arachnee69
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Joined: 2021-04-12, 15:36
Gender: male

I struggle myself with it.

Postby arachnee69 » 2021-04-12, 15:42

Hey folks!

I'm having a heated argument with a friend about the following construct:

Me: I struggle with x.
Her: I struggle myself with it. (With the same meaning intended as in: I struggle with it myself.)

Isn't this grammatically incorrect?
Am I going crazy?

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!

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linguoboy
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Re: I struggle myself with it.

Postby linguoboy » 2021-04-12, 18:03

arachnee69 wrote:Hey folks!

I'm having a heated argument with a friend about the following construct:

Me: I struggle with x.
Her: I struggle myself with it. (With the same meaning intended as in: I struggle with it myself.)

Isn't this grammatically incorrect?
Am I going crazy?

It's not grammatically incorrect, but it is infelicitous.

"Myself" can be used two ways in English: reflexively and emphatically. In the reflexive usage, the subject and object of the verb are the same:

I hate myself.
I sent myself a text. (= I sent a text to myself.)
I did myself a favour.

But in the emphatic usage, "myself" is only there to reinforce the subject.

I hate him myself. (I.e. No matter who else hates him, I do too.)
I sent a text myself. (E.g. rather than asking someone else to do it).
I myself did them a favour. (I.e. I did it personally.)

In general, to avoid confusion, emphatic myself either comes right after the subject (as in that last example) or at the very end of the sentence. In fact, some of these sentences would be ungrammatical with myself directly after the verb:

*I hate myself him.
*I did myself them a favour.

Which brings us to your example. "Myself" has to be emphatic in this sentence because the reflexive version of "to struggle" is "I struggle with myself" (since struggle on its own is intransitive and it can only take an object with the help of a preposition). Now while it's true that most speakers would prefer "I myself struggle with it" or "I struggle with it myself", "I struggle myself with it" isn't actually incorrect. I would say it's more emphatic than the other versions because you have to put particular stress on "myself" in this construction to make it clear that it's not intended to be reflexive. But I would avoid it in speech because it's a bit awkward to say.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

arachnee69
Posts: 2
Joined: 2021-04-12, 15:36
Gender: male

Re: I struggle myself with it.

Postby arachnee69 » 2021-04-12, 18:18

linguoboy wrote:
arachnee69 wrote:Hey folks!

I'm having a heated argument with a friend about the following construct:

Me: I struggle with x.
Her: I struggle myself with it. (With the same meaning intended as in: I struggle with it myself.)

Isn't this grammatically incorrect?
Am I going crazy?

It's not grammatically incorrect, but it is infelicitous.

"Myself" can be used two ways in English: reflexively and emphatically. In the reflexive usage, the subject and object of the verb are the same:

I hate myself.
I sent myself a text. (= I sent a text to myself.)
I did myself a favour.

But in the emphatic usage, "myself" is only there to reinforce the subject.

I hate him myself. (I.e. No matter who else hates him, I do too.)
I sent a text myself. (E.g. rather than asking someone else to do it).
I myself did them a favour. (I.e. I did it personally.)

In general, to avoid confusion, emphatic myself either comes right after the subject (as in that last example) or at the very end of the sentence. In fact, some of these sentences would be ungrammatical with myself directly after the verb:

*I hate myself him.
*I did myself them a favour.

Which brings us to your example. "Myself" has to be emphatic in this sentence because the reflexive version of "to struggle" is "I struggle with myself" (since struggle on its own is intransitive and it can only take an object with the help of a preposition). Now while it's true that most speakers would prefer "I myself struggle with it" or "I struggle with it myself", "I struggle myself with it" isn't actually incorrect. I would say it's more emphatic than the other versions because you have to put particular stress on "myself" in this construction to make it clear that it's not intended to be reflexive. But I would avoid it in speech because it's a bit awkward to say.


Thank you so much!


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