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PPer Cambridge Dictionary Online,

commit verb (PROMISE)

[I or T] to ​promise or give ​your ​loyalty, ​time, or ​money to a ​particular ​principle, ​person, or ​plan of ​action:

Like so many men, he has ​problems committing him​self to a ​relationship.

The ​government must commit itself to improving ​healthcare.

Question is, would it be grammatically acceptable to rephrase the example sentences above as follows, while keeping the exact same meaning?

Like so many men, he has problems committing to a relationship.

-and-

The government must commit to improving healthcare.

The government must commit itself to improve healthcare.

The government must commit to improve healthcare.

EDIT:

Please, consider this other example:

We commit ourselves to providing [...]

We commit to providing [...]

We commit ourselves to provide [...]

We commit to provide [...]

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These look like examples of noun ellipsis, where a contextually-recoverable noun is removed from the sentence.

Question is, would it be grammatically acceptable to rephrase the example sentences above as follows, while keeping the exact same meaning?

Yes, the form in each case strongly suggests that the dropped noun is the closest grammatically preceding noun.

You show an example with more than one noun phrase (so many men, he):

Like so many men, he has problems committing to a relationship.

The noun grammatically closest to and preceding the phrase committing to is he, so the person that "he" has problems committing to a relationship is himself, not the many men, and not some unmentioned person.

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To commit meaning to promise/say definitely is used transitively, often in the passive form:

  • [transitive, often passive] to promise sincerely that you will definitely do something, keep to an agreement or arrangement, etc.

    • commit somebody/yourself (to something/to doing something) The President is committed to reforming health care. Borrowers should think carefully before committing themselves to taking out a loan.

    • commit somebody/yourself to do something Both sides committed themselves to settle the dispute peacefully.

  • [transitive] commit yourself (to something) to give an opinion or make a decision openly so that it is then difficult to change it You don't have to commit yourself now, just think about it.

In you examples, if the sentence is not in the passive, you should use an object to avoid misunderstanding:

  • The government must commit (itseself) to improve/improving healthcare.
  • the government must commit (who? what?) to improve/improving healthcare.

(OLD)

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    Isn't the 'itself' readily recoverable (by default) and hence omissible? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 28 '16 at 15:28
  • Multiple collective nouns may be the problem here. Whose healthcare is it - Ours, theirs, its, the public's, or just the? Govt. must commit themselves to improving our healthcare. Creating consistency in sentences with multiple collective nouns can be a chore; and perhaps leaving out the reflexive pronoun is a way to cheat on that. – Phil Sweet Feb 28 '16 at 17:32

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