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I often find sentences similar to the following:

You should use this book to help you with the grammar that you find difficult.

To me, the above is more or less equivalent to this one:

You should use this book so that you can help yourself with the grammar that you find difficult.

Why do we have 'you' instead of 'yourself' in the former sentence?

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I believe both sentences are grammatically correct. To me, the only thing that is different is a very slight change in emphasis. The second sentence gives a slightly stronger emphasis on how using the book can help you. The second sentence also sounds slightly more formal to me. However, I believe the preference between these two sentences is personal, and it is quite likely that others may feel differently about the sentences than I do.

  • But if we had '...so that you can help you...' in the second sentence it wouldn't be considered as grammatically correct. So, why do we have 'you' instead of 'yourself' in the first sentence? – Karolini Feb 11 at 21:56
  • @Karolini - You could have "yourself" instead of "you" in the first sentence, as in "You should use this book to help yourself with the grammar that you find difficult." As this form is also valid, I think it is up to the speaker's preference as to which form is chosen. – sbutkovi Feb 11 at 22:00
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    I understand, but what I am trying to say is that we can use 'you' or 'yourself' in the first sentence but only 'yourself' (not 'you') fits in the second sentence. Why is that? – Karolini Feb 11 at 22:08
  • @Karolini - Good question. I don't know the official answer. All I know is that it "sounds" right to have "yourself" instead of "you" - perhaps it is the sort of situation where "you" could be grammatically correct, but because nobody uses it like that, it sounds incorrect. – sbutkovi Feb 11 at 22:16

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