2

I ran into such phrases:

  1. eat yourself skinny
  2. sleep yourself to death
  3. run yourself thin

As far as I understood from the context they mean:

  1. eat until you become skinny
  2. sleep until you die
  3. run until you become thin

Am I right?

Can I translate any phrase "do something until you become adjective" into phrase "do something yourself adjective"?

Are there any situations when I have to use herself, himself etc instead of yourself?

2

You can change the pattern

verb until you become adjective

into

verb something yourself adjective

in most circumstances

laugh yourself silly
run yourself ragged
eat yourself fat
study yourself smart

You would use

himself
herself
themselves

to refer to a third person in the same way you would use "he" and "she"

she laughed herself silly
he ran himself ragged
They ate themselves fat

  • It's usually other people who run you ragged, and I have to say both OP's eat oneself skinny and your eat oneself fat sound a bit weird to me. I'm more used to, for example, **worried himself sick, laughed himself hoarse, shook himself awake. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 25 '17 at 19:28
  • 1
    "Don't run yourself ragged!" is a standard phrase to mean "Take care of yourself, don't do too many things at once!". "Eat yourself skinny." is a phrase used by people who advocate eating "negative" calorie foods like celery. "Eat yourself fat" is, well, just eating too much. Your other examples are very good. – Peter Feb 25 '17 at 19:33
1

1) It also very much means that the adjective is caused by the verb, and in a forceful way.

2) You can replace the words with other ones of your choosing, BUT unless the new phrases are familiar and traditional, they can sound strange. It's safer to stick to phrases that you've seen already. In every example I can think of, the phrase is "correct" just because we are used to hearing it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.