(1) He got himself injured.

(1) doesn't have a word-for-word translation into my home language.
Could you tell me please what exactly (1) means?

To better understand (1), I want to compare it with (2) [the sentence I came up with by myself]:
(2) He got injured.

(2) does have a word-for-word translation into my home language so I can understand it well.
What's the difference between (1) and (2)?
What changes in the sentence meaning when we add the word "himself" into it?

  • 1
    I wouldn't suggest you use either of these. Sorry. The word "got" is redundant. Just remove it. Try "He injured himself" (he caused the injury himself) or "He was injured" (the cause is unknown, not mentioned).
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 23 at 21:00
  • 4
    @BillyKerr Seeing as the example sentence was found in the wild, I don't think it's useful to criticize it. OP's question is about what the sentence they encountered means (and specifically, how the reflexive pronoun changes the meaning).
    – Kaia
    Commented Jan 23 at 21:02
  • 1
    I think the reason for the weird phrasing is to make it clear that this is functioning as an intensive pronoun (which may be used as an adverb) and not as the direct object of the verb (as in "he injured himself", where "himself" is the reflexive object)
    – Kaia
    Commented Jan 23 at 21:05
  • @Kaia - Furthermore, I would say it's not idiomatic - just weird/odd
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 23 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


This is an example of an intensive pronoun. Other articles on intensive pronouns: Grammarly, Grammar Monster.

  • "He got injured" does not describe how he was injured.
  • "He got himself injured" emphasizes that he caused his own injury. It means approximately the same as "He injured himself", though it also emphasizes that it wasn't intentional. (We wouldn't say "got injured" if he was hurting himself intentionally.)

To me, the image of "got himself injured" is somebody being careless and falling off a bicycle. They caused the injury, but they didn't mean to.

(I agree with the comments that "he got himself injured" isn't entirely natural-sounding.)

  • 2
    Good answer. I think the only reason this specific phrase isn't natural sounding is that "got himself" is very casual and "injured" isn't. Compare "he got himself hurt" (natural) with "he got himself incapacitated" (unnatural).
    – K. A. Buhr
    Commented Jan 23 at 22:02
  • @K.A.Buhr If I ask "What is the difference between "He got himself hurt" and "He got hurt"?", will this be a better question in terms of naturality?
    – Loviii
    Commented Jan 23 at 22:44
  • 3
    I think your question is fine as-is. "He got himself injured" is only a little bit unusual, and I would not be surprised to hear a native speaker use that phrase. @Kaia's answer applies equally well to both "He got himself injured" and "He got himself hurt".
    – K. A. Buhr
    Commented Jan 23 at 22:59
  • It sounds perfectly natural to me. Ngrams suggests there is not that much difference between "hurt" and "injured", but "got himself killed" is vastly more common than either. Commented Jan 24 at 12:24
  • I disagree that this is an intensive pronoun. Another pronoun referring to someone else could be substituted if he caused somebody else to be injured ("He got her injured", or more commonly, "He got her pregnant"). It is "himself" rather than "him" because it is referring to the same individual as the subject but in another role, i.e. it is a reflexive pronoun.
    – nschneid
    Commented Jan 25 at 0:34

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