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I encountered the sentences someone posted on Facebook.

They posted: "I should be improved myself to be a better person."

I noticed that the sentence should be "I should improve myself to be a better person." instead. Since in this context, the verb should be non-reflexive, right?

And my questions are as followed,

  1. Did they use the grammar correctly?
  2. In which situations/contexts should "improve" be reflexive, or non-reflexive?

Could you provide examples of usage?

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    Your cited I should be improved myself to be a better person is syntactic garbage. Valid alternatives are I should improve myself to be a better person (where reflexive myself is optional) and I should be improved to be a better person (without myself). They're both "clunky, weird" things to say (especially the latter, where the passive form implies that someone else must "improve" you), but at least they're syntactically valid. Commented May 22, 2018 at 17:06

1 Answer 1

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1. Correctness of Grammar

No, the grammar is incorrect. Your suggestion of "I should improve myself to be a better person." is grammatically correct.

2. When to use a reflexive pronoun with "improve"

If there is no explicit object, then the understood object is the person(s) indicated by the subject:

I should improve. (no explicit object) = I should improve myself. (I = myself)

They should improve (no explicit object). = They should improve themselves. (They = themselves)

I will improve at basketball. = I will improve (myself) at basketball.

If there is an explicit object, and it's different from the person the subject indicates, then no reflexive pronoun is used:

I should improve my score.

They should improve their efficiency.

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  • "I should improve myself to be a better person," could be interpreted two ways. "I should improve myself in order to be a better person," or "I should improve myself so as to be a better person," make the meaning clear.
    – Zan700
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 23:14

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