From what I see in dictionaries, with the word “confine,” generally “to” is used as in “confine somebody/something to something.” I wonder if it is okay to use the word “confine” without “to something.” For example, can we say this sentence?

  • ”Don’t confine yourself.”

The context of the sentence is, let’s say I have a friend who goes outside very rarely and who is very asocial, and I want him to leave his house/apartment more. So I say the example sentence above to him like in, “Don’t confine yourself. Go outside more.” Would it be grammatically wrong? Do I have to say, “Don’t confine yourself to home/your apartment” instead of it?

  • 1
    Not the "confine" is wrong, but I wonder if I wouldn't say "don't lock yourself in" instead.
    – PPH
    Apr 21, 2022 at 17:00
  • There are definitely more idiomatic ways to say this, maybe something like "Don't shut yourself up" or (less forcefully) "Don't stay indoors all the time". I don't think there's a clear favorite among them, but "confine" is more a word for fine writing than speech. But it's grammatically OK.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 28, 2023 at 10:31

1 Answer 1


It's fine. The rest of the sentence is implicit, and context dependent.

If I'm advising a student and say "don't confine yourself" I might mean "don't confine yourself to courses where you're sure to get an A."

  • Thanks. You mean it is fine for the context I provided too, right? Apr 21, 2022 at 17:08
  • Yes. But see @PPH 's comment on the question. Apr 21, 2022 at 17:37

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