Is there any difference between

I dried off


I dried myself off

Also would it change the meaning if we removed "off"?

  • To dry wouldn't normally be used intransitively, so it's almost always reflexive I dried myself if the object is the same as the subject. That's not the case with to dry off, where we assume the object is the same as the subject unless explicitly specified otherwise (I dried the dog off). In short, either or both of myself and off are "optional" in your second example, without affecting the meaning significantly. Sep 11, 2017 at 15:21
  • @FumbleFingers Isn't that an answer? It looks like one. Sep 11, 2017 at 15:23
  • It's not a very complete answer. I could add, for example, that for me at least, I dried off is more likely in a "passive" context where I didn't really do anything to cause the drying, and I dried myself carries a stronger implication of taking "active" steps to make myself dry. Sep 11, 2017 at 15:25
  • @FumbleFingers It is becoming more complete with every comment! Sep 11, 2017 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


"Dry off" could be by any action -- the sun, the wind, etc. "Dry myself off" suggests that I did it, presumably with something like a towel.

"Dry off" is generally synonymous with "dry"

After falling into the lake, we dried ourselves (off) in front of the fire

We hung up our clothes to dry (off) in front of the fire

  • We were obviously simultaneously making the very same fine distinction in my comment and your answer. I thought it might just be an "imho" thing - but it's always nice to find agreement on subtle points like this. Sep 11, 2017 at 15:29
  • Thanks for your explanation (both Andrew and FumbleFingers). Just for certain, "Dry off" could also mean I did it myself, couldn't it?
    – MSDarwish
    Sep 11, 2017 at 15:47
  • @MohamedSDarwish Yes, but it implies that the action was passive, or that it's not important how you got dry.
    – Andrew
    Sep 11, 2017 at 15:53
  • 1
    @Mohamed: Yes. But in, say, I dried off in the sun, it's debatable whether you did it yourself, or simply allowed the sun to do it. Sep 11, 2017 at 15:54

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