Used Transitively, “Avail” Is a Reflexive Verb
I noticed the following sentence in a travel blog. It refers to the availability of rental lockers in French railway stations:
[Travelers] can therefore once again avail of these services particularly in main train stations in France.
In this sentence, avail requires an object: …avail themselves of these services.
Avail can be used intransitively (without an object). Here are some examples of the intransitive use of avail from Webster’s Unabridged:
Heroism could not avail against the enemy fire.
The wall could not avail to protect the town against cannon.
No comparison would avail; he was one of a kind.
When used transitively, the object of avail is usually the reflexive form of the subject:
I availed myself of the library facilities.
He availed himself of the free lunch.
They availed themselves of the coupon.
We availed ourselves of the use of the neighbor’s lawnmower.
Here are some quotations from newspapers:
… (It seems George over-cheered at their gathering two years ago when the New York Giants won the big game, then “availed himself of the toilet in their master bedroom.”)Newman shows up near the end, toting a box … (www.usatoday.com)
< ... (www.nytimes.com)
… the ability to live and work throughout the EU in exchange for a cash investment. We know that among those who have availed themselves of this right are billionaire Russian oligarchs and Ukrainians accused of corruption. For the financial … (www.theguardian.com)
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