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I was reading a novel and a sentence in the novel did not sound correct to me. Please check and let me know if it sounds normal or not. If it is correct, then please let me know what it means.

From the novel:

Unless you try to talk to guys, genius, I thought to myself. Walking over to the door, I closed and locked it. Next time I wanted to do something like spin in circles, I needed to close my door first.
Source: Bad for You, by Abbi Glines

As per my opinion:

Unless you try to talk to guys, genius, I thought myself. Walking over to the door, I closed and locked it. Next time I wanted to do something like spin in circles, I needed to close my door first.

“I thought of myself” or “I thought about myself” could also be possible, but they do not suit the situation.

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    off topic though - In my opinion. I guess this has been told to you previously. Did you skip? – Maulik V May 20 '14 at 13:36
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    It has a similar meaning as "I said to myself" - only are the words not spoken, but thought. In novels, reported speech is not always clearly indicated with quotation marks. Grammatically there is nothing wrong with the sentence. – oerkelens May 20 '14 at 13:44
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    In your suggested edits: I thought myself is not well-formed. thinking isn't reflexive. I thought of myself and I thought of myself only works if the projected thought is some kind of self-evaluation. I thought to myself is completely sound, there is nothing ungrammatical about it. Just as you can say something to yourself, you can think something to yourself (but not to others). – jimsug May 20 '14 at 13:45
  • Thanks. You made the point. Let me ask you one more thing? Were my given options sounded perfectly there or not. Especially this one (I thought myself)? – user62015 May 20 '14 at 13:50
  • I think you have not understood the comments here. There are only a few very contrived contexts where "I thought myself" would be valid words to end a longer sentence (and it could never be a sentence on its own). There's nothing at all unusual about your first example, but everything else you've written about it in your question text is completely wrong. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 20 '14 at 18:35
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I believe the author is trying to say that the main character thought (without letting it be known to others, i.e., to herself) the following: “Unless you try to talk to guys, genius.”

This could be made clearer by writing it with quotation marks, like so:

“Unless you try to talk to guys, genius,” I thought to myself.

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  • Thanks for your quick response. Does it grammatically correct? – user62015 May 20 '14 at 13:40
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    Sometimes in a novel, you might come across italicized text that implies it is being thought instead of spoken aloud. For instance, unless you try to talk to guys, genius, I thought to myself. Without italics or quotation marks, it is not grammatically correct. Also, just for your information, the question should be "Is it grammatically correct?" – Eric May 20 '14 at 13:42
  • I am so sorry but I have not understood your point. Could you please explain your point to me? So I can understand what exactly point you are trying to make. – user62015 May 20 '14 at 13:44
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    @Eric the italics/quotes convention is highly idiosyncratic - it's not convention, but it's utilised occasionally, primarily in books where it is possible to communicate via thought. – jimsug May 20 '14 at 13:58
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    @Eric I agree with jimsug, although I don't feel that it is "highly" idiosyncratic. Just "rather" so. :) Personally, I like the italics here; they run well with the style of the sentence. I would like them especially well if the book had at least several places where it was used, to establish it as a device. – BobRodes May 20 '14 at 14:23
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Grammatically, "I thought to myself" is fine and people say it all the time. But, unless you're telepathic, who else could you be thinking to? So "I thought" would be even better.

"I thought myself" would mean that the thought was your own original thought, as distinct from being somebody else's thought that you're repeating.

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