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You have made it up yourself.

This is obviously ok. But if the pronoun it should be repalced by a long noun-phrase:

You have made up the illusory world in which you move yourself.

It would sounds very ambiguous and will be misunderstood.

But can this be correct?

You yourself have made up the illusory world in which you move.

Is it considered "good" English? Can it be used formally? If not, why? And what are the alternatives?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You yourself is perfectly grammatical and idiomatic. It is used for additional emphasis. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has 475 cites for it, and the British National Corpus has 137. But since these two naked numbers alone mean little, here's putting them into some perspective:

                  COCA       BNC

you            3556382    661498
yourself         48157     10229
you yourself       475       137

he himself        1956       724
she herself       1075       365
I myself           996       191
they themselves    914       295
we ourselves       321       100

them themselves     54        23 
me myself           18         2
him himself         12         8
her herself         11         2
us ourselves         7         0
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@RegDwight: I gather that you weren't able to search for "you, yourself" vs. "you yourself" because the search is blind to the commas. Am I right? We do need those commas because of the alliterative relationship between the pronouns, right? –  Michael Owen Sartin Mar 19 at 0:31
1  
@Michael no, the search is not blind to commas (COCA has 81 hits for "you, yourself", and BNC has 5). And no, the commas are not needed. Not sure where you are heading with the alliteration remark. Alliterations require no extra punctuation. –  RegDwigнt Mar 19 at 2:04
    
@RegDwight I was headed off the deep end with the alliteration remark. I, myself, was thinking apposition, but my fingers focused falsely and faultily on alliteration. –  Michael Owen Sartin Mar 19 at 13:22

1.) You have made [it] up yourself.

2.) You have made up [the illusory world in which you move] yourself.

3.) You yourself have made up [the illusory world in which you move].

Your versions #1 and #3 are demonstrating the emphatic use of a reflexive pronoun ("yourself") -- which is part of standard English.

But in version #2, the reflexive pronoun is not being used in that way. Instead, that pronoun is now a direct object within the relative clause "in which you move yourself". (This is because the particle "up" does not separate the matrix clause object from the reflexive pronoun "yourself" as it does in version #1.) And so, version #2 has a different meaning from the others.

QUESTIONS: Is it considered "good" English? Can it be used formally? If not, why not?

I'm assuming you are asking about the emphatic use of the reflexive pronoun: this is probably more of a style issue, and I'd guess that some of the more formal styles and registers might not care too much for it.

QUESTION: And what are the alternatives?

As to your question for alternatives, you could try postposing the heavy direct object, or use dislocation (left or right), though if you try one of these or other information packaging constructions you might also want to consider moving that reflexive pronoun to another slot. (Also, be aware that dislocation is often considered more appropriate to an informal style.)

For instance, postposing,

  • 2.b) You have made up yourself [the illusory world in which you move].

And left dislocation,

  • 2.c) [The illusory world in which you move], you have made it up yourself.

And right dislocation,

  • 2.d) You have made it up yourself, [the illusory world in which you move].

though, note that for right dislocation, that there are constraints, such as: the dislocated phrase must represent discourse-old information (CGEL, page 1412). This means that the info of "the illusory world in which you move" must already have basically been mentioned earlier in the prose.

Superficially similar to right dislocation is the construction extraposition which happens to allow the extraposed constituent to be discourse-new information. But noun phrases in general tend to resist extraposition, e.g.

  • 2.e) You have made it up yourself [the illusory world in which you move].

but this (#2.e) is probably ungrammatical. (Notice that #2.e has no comma.)

You could also try complement preposing,

  • 2.f) [The illusory world in which you move] you have made up yourself.

But for preposing, it too has constraints, such as: the complement must be discourse-old, acting as a link to other entities evoked in the prior discourse (CGEL, page 1372).

You can also move the emphatic reflexive pronoun around. For instance:

  • 1.) You have made it up yourself.
  • 1.b) You yourself have made it up.
  • 1.c) You have yourself made it up.

You can also try other information packaging constructions. For instance, the it-cleft:

  • 3.b) It is [the illusory world in which you move] that you yourself have made up.

  • 3.c) It is you yourself that/who have made up [the illusory world in which you move].

Hopefully this is what you were asking for.

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You have made up the illusory world in which you move yourself.

You yourself have made up the illusory world in which you move.

As you said, the first of those is ambiguous. The second is clear in meaning, though it's questionable whether the "yourself" belongs where you've put it or whether it would be more effective at the other end of the sentence.

You have made up the illusory world in which you yourself move.

I think the irony of the statement comes out more strongly that way.

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I totally disagree, it changes the meaning completely and in a way that makes no sense to me. The emphasis should be on the "made up" and not on the "move". –  Shivadas Mar 19 at 16:49
    
It makes perfect sense the way I wrote it, but if you prefer it the other way, feel free. It's a matter of opinion. –  Terpsichore Mar 19 at 18:13

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