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He made forty drawings for the book and himself traced them for their lithographic reproduction.

what is wrong with the sentence? Each time I type this in MS word, a green line appears, indicating a grammatical error. But when I put the pronoun he again before "himself" the green line disappears. My question is not concerned with MS word, but I want to know why the use of himself in the above sentence is incorrect.

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    What's wrong is that in current English we'd put the emphatic/reflexive himself AFTER the verb (...and traced them himself). Your version would probably have been more acceptable (or perhaps just less unacceptable) a century or two ago. But it doesn't sound at all good to the modern ear. – FumbleFingers Sep 27 '17 at 17:44
  • He himself traced the drawing. Here himself comes before the verb trace. Normally we avoid repeating the same subject in a compound sentence. – Arkaprava Bose Sep 27 '17 at 19:11
  • A compound sentence will have a subject for each clause, even if those subjects are identical. What you're trying to use (and it's a perfectly fine structure) is a compound predicate. The problem is that the intensive "himself" of "he himself" doesn't work without the "he". The reflexive "himself" can still work, if placed where Fumble suggests or if introduced by a preposition like "by". Alternately, "he himself made the drawings and traced them" -- but it is less remarkable that he created originals than that he involved himself in the lithography. (I assume he is Toulouse-Lautrec.) – Gary Botnovcan Sep 27 '17 at 22:32
  • By the way, there's no need to avoid repeating the subject. Complete compound sentences are also a perfectly fine structure, even when the subject is repetitive. In this case, I think the emphasis justifies the repetition. – Gary Botnovcan Sep 27 '17 at 22:37
  • Arkaprava Bose: Re "avoid repeating the same subject in a compound sentence" - I don't know where you got that idea from, but it certainly doesn't apply in contexts involving reflexive pronouns. In fact, I myself think it's probably more common to use that version for emphasis, rather than saying I think myself that it should be this version. As it stands your cited text is non-idiomatic, but that could be "fixed" by simply adding a pronoun: ...and he himself traced them... – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '17 at 12:05
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I don't always agree with those green squiggly lines, but in this case I wholeheartedly concur.

Remember, in the phrase he himself, we are using the "himself" to put emphasis on the fact that it was "he" who did the work.

OK: He made forty drawings for the book and traced them for their lithographic reproduction.

(the and joins the verbs made and traced; he is the subject)

OK: He made forty drawings for the book, and he traced them for their lithographic reproduction.

(the and joins the two sentences; the and could be removed and they could be separated by a semi-colon instead of a comma)

OK: He made forty drawings for the book and traced them for their lithographic reproduction himself.

OK: He made forty drawings for the book and he traced them for their lithographic reproduction himself.

OK: He made forty drawings for the book and he himself traced them for their lithographic reproduction.

All of these work; the himself simply adds extra emphasis to the subject he.

NOT OK: He made forty drawings for the book and himself traced them for their lithographic reproduction.

Your variation doesn't work. We expect a new subject after the conjunction and, or else a second verb that is joined with the first verb. The word himself can't act as a verb or as a subject, so your sentence is jarring to the ear.

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Using a simpler version of your sentence, we don't say

Himself traced some drawings

we say

He traced some drawings

but for emphasis we can say

He himself traced some drawings

or

He traced some drawings himself

If your sentence is intended to mean that all the preparation work was done by him, and not by assistants, it could be

He made forty drawings for the book which he traced for lithographic reproduction himself.

  • He made drawing. He himself traced it. If we want to join them, we can simply omit "he"after "and" as we usually do. But why should we move "himself" to the end? – Arkaprava Bose Sep 27 '17 at 19:12
  • As in my simpler examples, you don't have to move himself to the end. – Weather Vane Sep 27 '17 at 19:17
  • I do not understand the reason for "and". It makes it seem is if he did that afterwards, as a separate exercise. It makes your original sentence hard to understand. – Weather Vane Sep 27 '17 at 19:18
  • Let me clarify. there are two sentences, joined together by an "and". The first sentence: He made forty drawing for the book. The second: He himself traced them for lithographic reproduction. In the separate sentence "himself" comes after He. but it is moved to the end when the sentences are joined. Can "which" be replaced by "and". Suppose, if there is no "himself", I can write, " He made forty drawings for the book and traced them for lithographic reproduction. – Arkaprava Bose Sep 27 '17 at 19:28
  • If they are two separate sentences please don't confuse the issue by joining them. – Weather Vane Sep 27 '17 at 19:31

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