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Hi there~ I'm not an English native-speaker.

I have a question while I'm writing an English composition.

"One should have confidence in himself, otherwise, he will boost the confidence of others but not himself."

I want to express the meaning that if one don't believe in himself, he will boost other people's confidence, and he will lost confidence. (Actually the weird sentence is translated from Chinese.)

My friend said, it should be

"One should have confidence in himself, otherwise, he will boost the confidence of others but not his."

What's the correct way to express?

Thanks!!

  • I don't think a person lacking self-confidence can boost others' self-confidence. Because of his lack of self-confidence, he will loose his chances of achieving something and thereby others may gain the opportunity. Thus his failure may contribute for their success! – mahmud koya May 14 '17 at 11:25
  • Yes, you're right. But that's the caption of a picture and I have to translate it. Thanks for your words, that's the perfect explanation of the meaning of the composition. – Wol May 15 '17 at 0:07
  • @mahmudkoya: I don't think a person lacking self-confidence can boost others' self-confidence. If I'm playing chess against someone, and my opponent shows a lack of self-confidence; that boosts my self-confidence that I can win this game. Maybe not the particular context OP is talking about, but applicatble to your statement nonetheless. – Flater May 15 '17 at 14:12
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One should have confidence in himself, otherwise, he will boost the confidence of others but not himself.

This is correct. "Himself" refers to a person. He will not boost the confidence of himself.

One should have confidence in himself, otherwise, he will boost the confidence of others but not his.

This is correct because a missing noun is implied. He will not boost his confidence.

If I were to say it, it would be like this.

One should have confidence in himself. Otherwise, he will boost the confidence of others, but not his own.

This is style. Short sentences are better than run on sentences.

"His own" sounds more natural to me than "His". "His own confidence" is implied. I can't really say why it sounds better. But ending with "his" sounds too abrupt.

  • I think there are errors in the above; but in any case, there are no sources, no references to support the answer, which ELU likes to have to differentiate opinion from received knowledge. – Xanne May 14 '17 at 23:22
  • @Xanne - Ah. I am sorry. This is my first post here. It is opinion. Feel free to correct it. – mmesser314 May 15 '17 at 1:23
  • Xanne, mmesser314 thanks for your answers! – Wol May 16 '17 at 0:31
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Grammatically the sentence is acceptable as "One should have confidence in himself, otherwise he will boost the confidence of others."

If either ...but not his or ...but not of himself is used in the sentence, it will be redundant as already there is the meaning that the subject does not have the confidence.

Otherwise is a conjunction and it need not be put in parenthetical commas.

otherwise conjunction (Cambridge Dictionary): ​

used after an order or suggestion to show what the result will be if you do not follow that order or suggestion.

  • thanks for your answer and reminding me about "otherwise"! – Wol May 16 '17 at 0:26
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"... he will boost the confidence of others but not himself" means he will not boost himself.

Apparently you want to say:

"One should have confidence in himself, otherwise he will boost the confidence of others but not his own."

  • To be redundant, but correct, you could say "... he will boost the confidence of others, but not the confidence of himself." To reduce the redundancy, I would say any of "... but not that of himself", "... but not of himself", or "... but not himself." But I can't support any of these with a reference, as Xanne requested below. – mmesser314 May 15 '17 at 1:35
  • michael.hor257k, mmesser314 thanks for your answers! and the sentence does really redundant... – Wol May 16 '17 at 0:29

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