What's new

Question She couldn't even sit up (for/by) herself.

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,341
Ratings
23
Dear native English speakers,
Would all the sentences sound right? Do they have the same meaning?
(a) She couldn't even sit up herself.
(b) She couldn't even sit up by herself.
(c) She couldn't even sit up for herself.

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2017
Messages
603
Ratings
23
No, these are three different meanings.

"Herself" in A emphasizes that it's she who cannot sit up, probably in contrast to someone else you're talking about who can sit up.

"By herself" in B indicates that she can't sit up without help. It implies that she can sit up with help, but not without.

"For herself" in C refers to the purpose of sitting up, i.e. it's saying that she couldn't sit up for her own sake, or something like that. This is a strange sentence that I wouldn't expect to hear.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2010
Messages
974
Ratings
148
I guess I see (a) and (b) as roughly the same, but (b) is the more common way to express it.

Since (c) shares two of three words with stand up for (and sit and stand are kind of similar verbs), my mind tries to try to give sit up for some similar meaning. But that's like putting a square peg in a round hole--it doesn't work.

If I rec'd sit up for on a student paper, I'd look at the context and suggest an alternative.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2010
Messages
974
Ratings
148
rec'd is more of a handwriting/note-taking shortcut than typing--easier to write than received.

also, others like nat'l = national, w/ = with
 
Top