Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: By...

  1. #1
    bagzi94's Avatar
    bagzi94 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Serbian
      • Home Country:
      • Serbia
      • Current Location:
      • Serbia
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    1,080
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default By...

    We were doing Reflexive and emphatic pronouns and teacher asked me
    to translate a sentence.

    I answered: He repaired the car by himself.
    She said: It is correct, but we won't use by.
    I forgot to asked her why. So I ask you: Why?

  2. #2
    svartnik2 is offline Banned
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Aaland
      • Current Location:
      • Aaland
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: By...

    That is how it is idiomatic; that is how we say it in English.

  3. #3
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,819
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: By...

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik2 View Post
    That is how it is idiomatic; that is how we say it in English.
    Welcome back, svartnik.

    ♥♦♣♠ NOT A TEACHER ♥♦♣♠
    As for the sentence in question, there's nothing wrong with the use of by with a reflexive pronoun. It means the same with or without the preposition.

  4. #4
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,142
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: By...

    Quote Originally Posted by bagzi94 View Post
    We were doing Reflexive and emphatic pronouns and teacher asked me
    to translate a sentence.

    I answered: He repaired the car by himself.
    She said: It is correct, but we won't use by.
    I forgot to asked her why. So I ask you: Why?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Bagzi,


    (1) I agree with Key Member Engee: you were correct.



    (2) This is a very confusing matter. It all depends on what books

    you want to believe. In fact, it may also depend on how loudly you

    pronounce the reflexive pronoun.

    (3) He himself repaired the car. = emphasizing "he."

    Maybe he is super rich. Yet he repaired the car. You cannot

    believe it. So in speech, you would stress (say loudly) the

    reflexive pronoun:

    The king HIMSELF (!!!) cooked dinner. I can't believe it!!!

    (4) He repaired the car HIMSELF. Many books say it may mean the

    same as sentence (3). (You can't believe it.)

    (5) He repaired the car by himself. = I think that all books agree that

    it means = he repaired the car alone. Nobody assisted him.

    The king cooked dinner by himself. You are NOT emphasizing the fact of his

    being the king. You just want to report that he cooked dinner

    without any help.

    (a) The problem is that many people delete (drop) the preposition

    "by." So the reader does not know whether your meaning is

    sentence (4) or sentence (5). In other words, are you emphasizing

    your surprise that "he" actually fixed his own car or are you just saying

    that nobody else helped him?

    (6) I am guessing that you were just saying that he fixed the car

    without anyone else's help. So I think that many books (and teachers)

    would agree that you did, indeed, write the "correct" answer. On the

    other hand, your teacher was not "wrong," for many native speakers

    delete the "by" when they SHOULD use it. For example:

    (7) Mother: Would you please help me wash the dishes?

    Son: Do I have to? I want to get on the computer now.

    Mother: I'm awfully tired.

    Son: I'm tired, too. It took a lot of energy to eat all that food.

    Mother: OK! Forget it! I'll wash the dishes (by) myself.

    (8) My respectful advice:

    (a) If you are "surprised," put the reflexive pronoun after the

    noun: The president HIMSELF called me. I am still in shock!!! I cannot

    believe that a president would call a nobody like me!!!

    (b) If you only want to report that someone did something without

    any help, always use "by":

    The president called me by himself. He did not ask a secretary to

    help him in any way. He even looked in the telephone directory to

    find my number. What a cool dude!
    Last edited by TheParser; 19-Mar-2011 at 15:03.

  5. #5
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: By...

    Quote Originally Posted by bagzi94 View Post
    I answered: He repaired the car by himself.
    She said: It is correct, but we won't use by.
    I forgot to asked her why. So I ask you: Why?
    It's redundant: you can omit the phrase by himself without changing the meaning of the sentence. That's what your teacher means.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: By...

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    It's redundant: you can omit the phrase by himself without changing the meaning of the sentence. That's what your teacher means.
    It is not redundant. As TheParser pointed out, " (5) He repaired the car by himself. = [...] he repaired the car alone. Nobody assisted him".

    If we omit 'by', we lose the full 'alone' sense.

    He repaired the car himself.
    This suggests that he did not get somebody else (a mechanic, for example) to repair it for him, but it does not necessarily mean that he did not receive any help.

    He repaired the car by himself. This clearly tells us that nobody helped him.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •