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As a new learner of this language I am not able to differentiate between these two sentences:

a) I enjoyed the party.

b) I enjoyed myself at the party.

I can only say that first sentence is used when someone has enjoyed the party with all others present. And the second means that he tried to enjoy party by all means available but alone.

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    They're nearly synonymous, but with different emphases. The first focuses attention on the party (which I enjoyed), the second on my enjoyment (of the party). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 3 '16 at 9:33
  • @EdwinAshworth Could you work that into an answer? – user3169 Oct 3 '16 at 17:59
  • @user3169 If you can convince me that that would be more useful, I certainly will do. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 3 '16 at 20:27
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Both the statements actually imply that you were happy and took pleasure from the party you attended .

I would like to clarify this by giving definitions.

Google defines 'enjoy' as:

enjoy /ɪnˈdʒɔɪ,ɛn-/ verb
1. take delight or pleasure in (an activity or occasion).
I enjoy watching good films

Collins dictionary defines 'enjoy oneself' as:

Synonyms of 'enjoy oneself'
have a good time, be happy, have fun, have a field day (informal), have a ball (informal),live life to the full, make merry, let your hair down

Thesaurus.com defines 'amuse oneself' as:

amuse oneself
Main Entry: delight in
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: take pleasure from
Synonyms: admire, adore, amuse oneself, appreciate, be content, be pleased, cherish, dig*, eat up, enjoy, feast on, get a kick out of, get high on, get off on, glory in, groove on, indulge in, like, live a little, live it up, love, luxuriate in, relish, revel in, savor

All these imply that whether you say "I enjoyed..." or "I enjoyed myself somewhere" it simply means that you took pleasure from there.

  • I am not sure what the definition of amuse oneself adds to this answer... – JavaLatte Dec 2 '16 at 17:58
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I enjoyed the party.

The party brought you enjoyment.

I enjoyed myself at the party.

You brought yourself enjoyment at the party. This may seem redundant as you typically go to a party for your own self-enjoyment, but this can have one or more of the following implications:

  • the party was not capable of bringing you enjoyment for some reason - e.g. if it was a bad party or someone else at the party was not having fun, you made the best of it.

  • the party was not meant to bring you enjoyment for some reason but did anyway - e.g. you went to a party you didn't want to because a friend went, but you ended up having fun anyway.

  • you attended the party with others, and they may not have had fun at the party, but you did.

  • you proactively did something entertaining at the party without caring too much what others thought. E.g., perhaps you danced while everyone else was too scared to dance.

  • an emphasized or polite form of "I enjoyed the party."

  • This is an excellent answer that does a good job of explaining not just the literal, grammatical meaning of "enjoy [ones]self," but also why someone might employ the construction. – Adam Jun 5 '17 at 16:05
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They are both have the same meaning but slightly different, since the second option is idiomatic phrase and it's supposed to be said as an expression of a little bit higher level of enjoying. In addition, the second one is in informal use. This is the explanation:

a) I enjoyed the party.

Literally it means that you enjoyed in the party. No more details. it says that it could be that you enjoy a lot or a little bit. it is a 'dry' sentence (obviously, depending on the tone that it's said while speaking, but not in writing). It is in formal use and temperate style.

But when you say or write:

b) I enjoyed myself at the party.

It is idiomatic and in informal use.

reference: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/enjoy+oneself

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