forfeit yourself

snowflower

Member
Mandarin/TW
Hi all,

I wrote this sentecen in an article: If you continue committing all kinds of crimes, you're bound to forfeit yourself.
By forfeit, I want to say ruin yourself. Is the way I use forfeit correct?

Could you help out? Thanks in advance.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hi all,

    I wrote this sentecen in an article: If you continue committing all kinds of crimes, you're bound to forfeit yourself.
    By forfeit, I want to say ruin yourself. Is the way I use forfeit correct?

    Could you help out? Thanks in advance.
    It’s an interesting idea. Forfeit certainly means “lose”.
    However it usually means “lose because you FAILED to do something”.
    I suppose in your example you “failed” to behave well - but it doesn’t seem quite right.

    Sometimes being “not quite right” is OK. I suppose it depends on the whole piece and your skills as a writer. The better you are at writing the more “risks” you can take.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes, when I can't find any explanation about an expression used by a highly esteemed native writer, I call that native speaker licence.:)
    Yes.
    I thought it interesting that your answer was much more “accurate” than mine, sticking strictly to the definition, where I was more willing to allow a bit more metaphor in!
    But your advice is best for most learners.
     

    snowflower

    Member
    Mandarin/TW
    Actually, one of my friends, a British native speaker, would use this word that way. Maybe I was trying to imitate him while also doubting if it is correct, as I can't find this usage in the dictionaries.
    Anyway, thank you guys for sharing your ideas.
    By the way, passion can be the best teacher in learning English. :cool:
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Actually, one of my friends, a British native speaker, would use this word that way. Maybe I was trying to imitate him while also doubting if it is correct, as I can't find this usage in the dictionaries.

    By the way, passion can be the best teacher in learning English. :cool:
    As non-native speakers, we shouldn't imitate blindly and shouldn't use any word in a way or sense not found in comprehensive dictionaries unless we're absolutely sure of it and know that we're taking liberty with the expression.


    Yes, passion does help you a lot. :thumbsup:
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think the trouble with "forfeit yourself" is that it looks like a reflexive verb, on the lines of "you are bound to perjure yourself.

    If you want to use "self" to mean "soul" or "what you are in essence", or perhaps "your integrity", this would surely work:

    If you continue committing all kinds of crimes, you're bound to forfeit your self.

     

    snowflower

    Member
    Mandarin/TW
    Thanks for your suggestions and sharing your ideas. Now I believe I'm clear about the usage of forfeit. Thanks
     
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