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  1. #1
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    Default Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    I have two sentences :
    Jack believes himself to be a superstar
    Jack thinks himself is a superstar

    why is the second sentence considered ungrammatical in the light of the first sentence.

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by MIC85 View Post
    I have two sentences : Put a period at the end of each sentence.
    Jack believes himself to be a superstar.
    Jack thinks himself is a superstar.

    why is the second sentence considered ungrammatical in the light of the first sentence.
    It's due to the different word combinations used with different verbs.
    Jack (believes)(thinks) he is a superstar.
    Jack thinks of himself as a superstar.
    Jack considers himself a superstar.

  3. #3
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    *Jack thinks himself is a superstar.

    Himself is an object pronoun, an anaphor, dependent in this case on John. It can't be a subject. So it can't be the subject of himself is a superstar.

    If you write 'John thinks he is a superstar', it is ambiguous. Who is he? John? Or someone else?





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    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by pedroski View Post
    *jack thinks himself is a superstar.


    if you write 'john thinks he is a superstar', it is ambiguous. Who is he? John? Or someone else?
    but if there has been no mention of anyone else, the pronoun "he" clearly refers to the antecedent noun "john" and the sentence is not ambiguous.


    2006

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    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Obviously, the sentence 'John thinks he is a superstar.' does not stand alone in the world, but as part of a discourse. Assume, if you will, that prior to this sentence another male has been mentioned. 'Pat is a good singer.' Who does he refer to? The sentence is intrinsically ambiguous, because he does not necessarily refer to John.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Jack considers himself a superstar.
    Or Jack thinks himself a superstar
    (Would you use this in Canada?)

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    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by pedroski View Post
    obviously, the sentence 'john thinks he is a superstar.' does not stand alone in the world, i think you're being too 'careful'.
    the two sentences in the op are obviously saying what jack thinks of himself. And without widening the discussion with different context, which i noted, the sentence in dispute is very clear.

    2006

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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Or Jack thinks himself a superstar
    (Would you use this in Canada?)
    I wouldn't. But who knows; the world of sport has its own lingo.

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    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Reflexive pronoun / Tensed sentences

    Or Jack thinks himself a superstar.
    You just introduced a Small Clause, a verbless clause. But it still has himself, an object pronoun as its subject, which is a bit of a contradiction.
    If you put: 'Jack thinks of himself as a superstar.' that would be plain English.

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