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Summary Details

Query:   'enjoy oneself (by) doing'
Author:  Hiroaki Tanaka
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Syntax

Summary:   Dear All,
I posted a query about "enjoy + (by) doing" on Fri. 23 January. The
question was the following. To this, I received responses from 6 people
below. I thank you all who made commented on my investigation.

C.D. Nilep, E. Lattey, C.T. Scott, L. Fadden, R.P.P. INgham,
R. Phaedra

The query:
- -------------------------------------
> My former teacher in the university I graduated, a famous
> lexcographer here in Japan, who is compiling many English-Japanese
> dictionaries, wants to know whether the following "enjoy + oneself
> +(by) + doing" is currently used in America, Britain and other English
> speaking countries. Logically, "enjoy + oneslef + doing" consturction
> in (3) below is impossible, because "enjoy" does not take double
> object construction. But he arugues against this, saying that the
> developmental strategy of "enjoy" is from (1a) to (1d). The questions
> are: (i)Which type in (2a)-(2e) do you think is the most appropriate,
> acceptable structure of "enjoy"? (ii)Which do you think is the most
> old-fashioned, out of use, type in (2a)-(2e)? (iii) Do you think are
> there any regional differences among these sentences?
> (1) a. enjoy oneself by doing
> -->b. enjoy oneself (by) doing
> -->c. enjoy oneself doing
> -->d. enjoy doing
> (2) a. I had a good time playing golf.
> b. I enjoyed myself playing golf.
> c. I enjoyed myself while playing golf.
> d. I enjoyed myself playing golf.
> e. I enjoyed playing golf.
> For your information, I refer to the curious omission of "enjoiy
> oneself" in the 5th edition of Oxford Advanced Learners
> Dictionary(OUP), although there is one in the 4th edition of the
> dictionary(The children enjoyed themsleves playing in the water).
> I will post a summary. I'm looking forward to your replies. Please
> e-mail me directly to the following address. Enjoy yourself answering
> my question!
> Thanks a lot in advance.
- ---------------------------------------------
I made a bad mistake in typing my query on my PC. First, there is
no (3) above. I meant (1c) there. Second, (2b) and (2d) are the
same. Acutually, (2b) is,
I enjoyed myself by playing golf.
I wanted to know if there is any difference between "enjoy oneself
by doing" and "enjoy oneself doing", and if both are acceptable
and actually being used in English speaking countries. If any of you
have further comments on this problem, please mail me directly.

- ----------------------------------------------
The responses from the 6 people above are summarised as:
(i)"enjoy doing" and "enjoy by doing" are mostly acceptable,
but not heard and seem strange to the English speakers. Much
more common is "have fun (ehile) doing".

(ii)"enjoy doing" and "enjoy oneself doing" are differently
interpreted. The former is something like "like that activity" and
the latter is "have a good time at that activity.

(iii)"enjoy oneself while doing" is read as "enjoy doing
something" and "during that time doing something else is fun".
The two different activities are being done and enjoyed at the
same time.

(iv)I mentioned that "enjoy oneself doing" is impossible because
it has double object construction. I aslo agree with my former
professor that "doing" is not an object here. As R. Ingham pointed
out, it has the same structure as "playing" in "I fell down playing

(v)there seem to be no answer to the question whether these
constructions are old fashioned or not. I did not mean to say that
"old fashioned" is Old English or English in ancient time. Oldness
and regional difference of these constructions may be better
understood if we receive more responses.

Thank you very much for all those who helped me a lot. If you
have further comments on this problem, please feel free to
contact me.

Best wishes,

Hiroaki Tanaka

Associate Professor
Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences
Tokushima University, Japan

1-1, Minamijousanjioma,
Tokushima, 770-8502,

phone & fax: +81 886 56 7125

LL Issue: 9.139
Date Posted: 30-Jan-1998
Original Query: Read original query


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