1

For me, both the sentences bellow sound quite correct and natural:

  • Undress the baby.
  • Take the baby's clothes off.

But from among the following pair, first one doesn't sounds incorrect and one cannot use the verb 'undress' in this sense when they need to mention a piece of clothing:

  • Undress my coat.
  • Take my coat off.

Does my understanding sound correct to you?

1
  • What is your question? I don't see a question mark. Also, undress can be intransitive, that is, you can say "I undress" without having to say "myself".
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 16:38

1 Answer 1

5

The constructions in the second examples in your two pairs are parallel:

Take .the baby's. clothes off.
Take . my . coat off.

But those in your first examples are not:

Undress .the baby.
Undress .my coat .

To be appropriately parallel you must write:

Undress . me .

Moreover, undress ordinarily implies taking all of one's clothes off, but take off embraces only the garments specifically named.

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  • StoneyB YOU ARE FANTASTIC... :) Just one more question; Do these sentences mean the same or not? (--- Could you undress me? ---) =?= (--- Could you take my clothes off? ---)
    – A-friend
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 6:48
  • 1
    @A-friend Yes, those can be equivalent, though the second might also be a demand that your hearer take off of himself the clothes that he has borrowed from you. :) Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 13:01

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