relax oneself

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albert_laosong

Senior Member
Mandarin
Hi all
I would like your opinion about relax as a reflexive verb, I know you may say it can't be used as a reflexive verb, the reflexive pronoun after it is not necessary, but is it completely wrong, or it's not a good usage but still acceptable, or acceptable in some contexts?

For example, I find below sentences (made me) sound quite natural.
1. they said after the project is finished next week they would have a long vacation, relaxing themselves physically and mentally.
2. when I want to relax myself, I often go to the lake and have a walk there.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It might possibly be acceptable in some contexts, but I can't think of one. In your sentences, 'themselves' and 'myself' sound very unidiomatic. I'd avoid it altogether.

    Cross-posted.
     

    albert_laosong

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Many thanks, but I might have just found a context where it may be acceptable, please refer to the highlighted sentence in below picture.
    1570296678623.png

    Actually I made the first sentence in my original post based on the highlighted one above. The reason I didn't use this one as the example sentence in the original post was because at that time I didn't think the above highlighted sentence had any problem, because I automatically thought the subject for relax was the whole main clause before "which". My thinking was that someone relaxes oneself may be wrong, but some activity relaxes somebody is correct.

    But after some research it seems when relax means taking rest, it's a intransitive verb, so "someone relaxes oneself" and "some activity can relax someone" are both wrong. However, "it will relax you" sounds perfectly natural to me.

    Then on the other hand it also occured to me that when reflexive pronoun is used as an object, the subject has to be the same people/things, so I thought that the subject of the relax in above picture might not be the whole main clause but "the people" which is somehow hidden?
    I say it's hidden because I think "which would help to relax themselves physically and mentally" = "which would help (them) to relax themselves physically and mentally" = "which would help them to relax physically and mentally".
    And if the subject is the whole main clause, relax themselves should be changed to relax them?

    I'm not sure if I'm making myself clear, these ideas of mine as stated above are making me totally confused now.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm afraid that book isn't a good example of written English from which to learn, or to take examples from. In fact it's a good example of badly written English. There are several errors and clunky sentences. The one you highlight is one of these. ' . . . which would eventually help them to relax themselves' is simply wrong. Even without 'themselves' it's a bad sentence.
     

    albert_laosong

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I'm afraid that book isn't a good example of written English from which to learn, or to take examples from. In fact it's a good example of badly written English. There are several errors and clunky sentences. The one you highlight is one of these. ' . . . which would eventually help them to relax themselves' is simply wrong. Even without 'themselves' it's a bad sentence.
    Thanks, I think maybe you are right :), this picture originally came from a post in a Chinese Q&A website, just the poster wasn't asking the same questions as above, but another one. I saw the same poster asking questions before based on materials used specially to prepare for tests, but seemingly coming from not very reliable sources.
    I myself can aslo see the language in the text is not very natural, but I can't determine if it's written by English-speaking natives or not.

    Even without 'themselves' it's a bad sentence.
    you mean "help them to relax" should be changed to "help them relax"? or you think "which would eventually make them relax" sounds better?
    Really appreciate your help.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    {...}
    I myself can also see the language in the text is not very natural, but I can't determine if it's written by English-speaking natives or not.
    {...}
    This perhaps could have been written by a ten-year-old native speaker except that there is a mixture of BE and AE spelling. This has clearly been written as an exercise by a non-native speaker, both because of the many errors and the banality of the commentary.
     

    albert_laosong

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Unless you're usng the reflexive here for a bit of humor, I don't see that it adds anything ;) .
    Thanks, but according to dictionary, the reflexive here can be
    " used for emphasis to refer again to yourself after you have already been mentioned",for example:
    I myself have never been to Italy.
    I myself have experienced the same thing.

    But after reading it again I see you might mean the combination of words there just sounds weird:), will pay attention to it.
     
    Last edited:

    albert_laosong

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Your source, please? I assume this wasn't written by a native speaker of English (or has been badly translated by a native speaker of English).
    the source is a post in a Chinese Q&A website, the post contains only the same picture without naming the source too. I would have posted the link but seems it needs prior approval to post links here.
     
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