Adam and Eve blamed themselves


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
1) Reflexive pronoun: Adam and Eve blamed themselves. ['Adam blamed himself, and Eve blamed herself.']
2) Reciprocal pronoun: Adam and Eve blamed each other. ['Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed Adam.']

(A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language; Randolph Quirk)

Can the first example mean the following: 'Adam blamed both himself and Eve, and Eve blamed both herself and Adam.'? If it can't, would you be so kind to help me to convey this particular thought?

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, 1) is ambiguous about how the reference is distributed. To make it clear that each person blamed only that one person, you can add 'each': Adam and Eve each blamed themselves.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think it can mean that. Adam and Eve as a unit or a couple blamed themselves as a couple.

    [Adam & Eve] blame [Adam & Eve] → [Adam] blames [Adam & Eve] & [Eve] blames [Adam & Eve].

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