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I saw a girl wearing a tshirt says Eat yourself smart. When I search for eat oneself, the result brings up cannibalism or such. But there're books published as Eat youtself calm, young, beautiful.. What makes difference? Why not say Eat smart?

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    "Eat yourself (adj.)" means "Eat so as to have the (adj.) effect on yourself. For example, "Eat yourself happy" means "Eat until you feel thoroughly happy." It is a process, by the way, not a sudden transformation. May 23, 2017 at 5:08
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    It's a T-shirt slogan -- it doesn't have to mean anything.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 23, 2017 at 1:52

1 Answer 1

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In this case, the sentence is shorthand for this form:

Eat [a certain, unspecified way] to become [something].

Whatever that something is, it is an adjective in this case. By comparison, it's an adverb here:

Eat [somehow].

So, substituting "smart" in:

Eat yourself smart.

Eat smart.

What do you become after the first sentence? You become smart. How do you do that? It's unspecified.

What do you become after the second sentence? It's unspecified. How do you do that? By eating in a smart way.

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  • That explains. And a sidedish question, 'eat oneself' itself means..as mentioned.. just eating your own body.. Then if I want to emphasize this with how, Eat yourself 'camly', with adv, correct?
    – hermes
    May 23, 2017 at 4:02
  • @hermes That is an incredibly literal interpretation of those two words. It's tough for me to imagine that meaning as the default in casual speech without additional context enforcing that interpretation. There exist idioms like "eat your heart out" that absolutely do not have anything to do with eating, regardless of the literal meaning of the words. However, you would indeed emphasize the literal meaning with an adverb if you ever had cause to. Something more relevant (say, with cigarettes or hard drinking) is: You're slowly but surely killing yourself.
    – lirmont
    May 23, 2017 at 11:05

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