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This is in a song I’ve heard. Is it grammatically correct?

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...I pray the Lord my soul to keep. It's really just 'poetic doggerel', but strictly speaking it is grammatical, I'm sure. –  FumbleFingers Jul 7 '11 at 14:41
    
Enter Sandman by any chance? –  Andrew Jul 7 '11 at 14:49
    
It's originally from a prayer, and has been used in many songs. –  Jim Dec 5 '11 at 18:04
    
I concur on the use of reflexive pronouns anywhere an object is appropriate, but still hold to the implied preposition for indirect objects. Take, for example, "He gave his daughter in marriage" "He gave his daughter a wedding" "I sent him a letter" "I sent him home." "Give us our daily bread" "Give us up for redemption" –  user46468 Jun 21 '13 at 19:32
    
Andrew, yes. It is in the record Enter Sandman by Metallica. Here youtube.com/watch?v=CD-E-LDc384 –  Tristan Jun 21 '13 at 22:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Technically this is grammatically correct, however it is not common for someone to use the first person for both the subject and the direct object of a sentence, as it comes across as somewhat redundant.

"Now I lay down to sleep" has the same meaning and is a more conventional way of saying this. Although I'm sure the choice to use "Now I lay me down to sleep" was done for poetic reasons and there's nothing wrong with that.

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Would it not be either "Now I lie down to sleep" or "Now I lay myself down to sleep"? –  neil Jul 7 '11 at 16:53
    
Ah, you're right. "Lie" is used when no direct object is present "Now I lie down to sleep". –  Ratz Jul 7 '11 at 16:58
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I don't think it's as uncommon as you seem to suggest in informal speech. E.g. "I gotta catch me some sleep." –  Kaiser Octavius Jun 20 '13 at 18:04

Nice use of the middle voice. Since the subject is acting upon itself, i.e., it is both subject and object, so use of the transitive verb "lay." Without the object (me) it would have to be "Now I lie down to sleep" (the verb would have to be the intransitive "lie" not the transitive "lay.") Use of "myself" here would be inappropriate as "myself" would take a preposition (usually implied), e.g., I bought a bike [for] myself; I finished the job [by] myself, I gave [to] myself a birthday gift. (Except, "myself" can be used emphatically, "I myself won the prize.") So "I lay myself" does not really work.

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–1: There is no implied preposition in “I gave myself a birthday gift” – it's simply an indirect object. You can use reflexive pronouns anywhere an object is appropriate: direct, indirect, or preposition. Half of this answer is incorrect. –  Bradd Szonye Jun 20 '13 at 19:09

protected by tchrist Jun 30 at 4:20

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