Are YouTube creators using "enjoy" in a new intransitive sense?

English Language & Usage Asked on January 5, 2022

Many YouTube creators end their videos with a statement similar to

If you enjoyed, please remember to click the thumbs-up button!

Invariably, there is no explicit direct object for the verb "enjoy". This is something I’ve only ever encountered in YouTube videos.

Language websites such as this one say that "enjoy" is an obligatory transitive verb, meaning it requires a direct object.

You could of course say there’s an implied direct object "the video", but this seems to me like some new sociolect construct, where the direct object becomes irrelevant because of immersion in the subject matter.

Has this been recognized or studied by anyone? If so, have they traced the origin to YouTube, or did creators bring it from some other medium?
Of course the imperative "Enjoy!" has been around for a while, but for the purpose of this question, you’d have to trace its evolution into YouTube or whatever medium preceded that.

Reminder: This is NOT about the imperative "Enjoy!". This is about the conditional use and where it originated.

2 Answers

The OED has in the entry for enjoy:

OED mentiuons that "Enjoy!" is not intransitive:

Draft additions March 2003

[In later use, probably after dialectal Yiddish genist.] In imperative, with ellipsis of object: take pleasure in the thing (frequently food or drink) being presented.

1876 H. James Roderick Hudson ix. 304 Don't mind the pain, and it will cease to trouble you. Enjoy, enjoy; it is your duty.

1959 H. Golden For 2¢ Plain ii. 92 When my mother served our meals..she would always say, ‘Enjoy, enjoy’... The word ‘enjoy’ was seldom used by itself. It was always repeated.

1998 30 All Time Great Recipes (BBC Good Food) Autumn 1/1 We hope that in this selection, you will rediscover some old friends—and make some new ones as well. Enjoy!

Answered by Greybeard on January 5, 2022

Apparently, the intransitive usage is older than You Tubers:

Enjoy! mouthed by tired waiters as they abandon you to your meal. In Macmillan Dictionary this is recorded as a sub-sense (1a), although traditional ELT websites still inform us sternly that ‘enjoy always has an object’.


(Intransitive always in imperative ​spoken) -used for saying that you hope someone enjoys something that they are about to do.

(MacMillan Dictionary)

Answered by user 66974 on January 5, 2022

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