My children often hear someone say "you scared the hell out of me".
and now they say "I laughed the hell out of myself" and "I laughed the hell out of you"
I am not sure why my children invented these phrases.
Do these sentences make any sense?
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In the sentence "you scared the hell out of me", the phrase "the hell out of" acts as an intensifier - it can roughly be paraphrased as "you scared me a lot".
Importantly, the sentence "you scared me" is valid on its own. Similarly, "the cat scratched my leg" could become "the cat scratched the hell out of my leg". It can also be used for an emotionally positive sentence, e.g. "I was pleased to finally see my gran, so I hugged her" can become "I was pleased to finally see my gran, so I hugged the hell out of her".
This isn't true of your proposed sentences: *"I laughed myself" and *"I laughed you" are not grammatical sentences, because "to laugh" is only used as an intransitive verb. So although a native speaker might understand what you were trying to say, those sentences sound wrong.
Cambridge tells us that the phrase has a rough equivalence to "very much" (e.g. You scared me very much).
Merriam Webster tells us that it is used for emphasis after certain words (e.g. scare, frighten, beat).
After reading at these dictionaries, it may seem logical that one could say "[someone] laughed the hell out of [someone]". Notice, however, that the examples from MW are all actions that someone can do to someone else. I can scare you. I can beat you. But I can't "laugh" you, can I?
So the end, while this seems like it would work in theory, it's doesn't make sense and is unfortunately just not something that native speakers would say.
P.S. For the benefit of your children, please also note that the phrase is impolite and may come across as offensive to some audiences.
"Scared the hell out of me" is an idiom, a stock phrase that doesn't really make sense if analyzed word by word. Did you have hell in you? Did the fear cause this hell to leave you? What would any of that even mean?
I don't know the origin of the phrase. Maybe, just speculating, the idea is that something frightened someone so much that he decided he needed to reform his life so that he would not go to Hell. Like, I was leading a sinful life, headed for Hell, when this event happened where I thought I was going to die, and I thought, if I die tonight I'll go to Hell, I need to change my life and get right with God.
Or maybe the origin is not that serious and theological, maybe it means nothing more than when a person says, "Oh, Hell!" when he bumps into something. Anyway ...
Occasionally people will say "Xed the hell out of ..." where X is something other than "scared", but it's pretty rare and, to me anyway, it just sounds like they are playing off of the "scared the hell out of" phrase.
I have never heard anyone say "laughed the hell out of me". I can guess that it means, "that was very fun and I laughed a lot". But it's a weird sentence. Most fluent English speakers would understand what you mean but find it a very odd thing to say.
No. but you can say, “I laughed like Hell.” You can use “like Hell” with many intransitive verbs, but be careful, “Like Hell!” as an interjection means, “Absolutely not,” or “I don’t believe you.” So, “Like Hell, I laughed,” would mean, “It is absolutely not true that I laughed.”
You can use “the Hell out of” with many transitive verbs, like in the old joke, “How do you make holy water? You boil the Hell out of it.”