Learn English – Russian speakers and “I feel theself to be …”


I was told that it is a typical mistake for Russian speakers to say I feel myself badly instead of I feel ill.

I wonder to what extent such constructs sound wrong to native speakers?

  1. I feel myself badly

  2. I feel myself well

  3. I feel myself to be a hero

  4. I feel myself to be an astronaut

  5. I feel myself to be suppressed (I feel myself suppressed)

  6. I feel myself sleeping (I feel myself to be sleeping)

Are they always wrong or just convey a different meaning? Are there examples of native English speakers using such constructs?


Some comments said that there is a erotic connotation in this usage. I would like this to be explained as well.

Best Answer

All of these sentences are grammatically valid, but for some of them the intended meaning is not at all clear, and they are not the way that most English speakers would express these ideas.

In general, "I feel myself" is generally understood to mean touching yourself for autoerotic pleasure, which is probably not what you mean in any of these examples.

"I feel myself badly." Sounds like you mean that you are unskilled at autoeroticism. If what you mean is that you are sick or unhappy, you should say simply "I feel bad."

"I feel myself well." Similar to badly but in the opposite direction. You probably mean "I feel good."

"I feel myself to be a hero/astronaut/suppressed." Valid. These would be understood to mean that you think you "qualify" as one of these things, but by using the word "feel" rather than simply stating that you "are", you imply that the classification might be debatable. Like, someone who has flown very high-altitude airplanes might say, "I feel myself to be an astrounaut", knowing that others will challenge the claim. I think most Enlgish speakers would be more likely to say, "I consider myself to be an astrounaut" or "I think of myself as an astronaut" or "I think I am an astronaut." But the sentence as written is valid if that's what you mean. Note this is different from saying, "I feel like a [whatever]". In that case, you are not claiming to actually be whatever, just that you have some similar experience. Like, "After an hour in the Space Shuttle simulator, I feel like an astronaut."

"I feel myself sleeping." I'm not sure what you're trying to say. If you're sleeping, you're not really feeling anything. Maybe "I feel myself falling asleep"?