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I know what "be yourself" means. I usually see people using it in some sentences like "You have to be yourself", "You must be yourself" etc., but I barely see anyone saying "You are yourself".

Is that sentence correct? I used it in this below context when I tried to define what a friend is

"Friend is someone you have a bond with. You feel comfortable and are yourself when you are with them."

If it is wrong, how could I correct it, particularly in the context?

  • Welcome to EL&U! You might find the English Language Learners Stack Exchange a valuable resource. – A Lambent Eye Dec 21 '18 at 8:30
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    Good question! There’s nothing ungrammatical about it, but you’re right that we don’t generally use the simple present construction here – it does sound a bit ‘off’ somehow. I can’t really see any reason why this should be so, but I feel fairly confident that it is. The most common way to phrase the sense that you have here would be to say that a friend [note: indefinite article is required] is someone you feel comfortable and can be yourself around. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 21 '18 at 8:59
  • Thanks!!! I just joined here and did not expect to get a reply so fast. – Tam Dec 21 '18 at 13:18
  • This is a little out of scope, but for the sake of grammatically correct. As friend is a countable noun, an article is needed. "A friend is someone you have a bond with." – truongminh Dec 26 '18 at 9:24
  • It’s a tautology but it’s grammatically correct. In the context you’ve given “you can be yourself when you are with them” is more appropriate. – Tom Kelly Jan 8 at 10:45
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If you follow the entry of "be oneself" from Oxford Living Dictionary https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/be_oneself,

you can define "friend" like this:

"A friend is someone you have a bond with. You feel comfortable and act naturally, according to your character and instincts when you are with them".

As about saying "You are yourself", I can give you some examples from https://context.reverso.net:

  • I see from your letter that you are yourself the daughter of a country parson.
  • You are yourself again.
  • See...? You are yourself again.
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"Friend is someone you have a bond with. You feel comfortable and are yourself when you are with them."

I would say "and you can be yourself"

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