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I know that there are some verbs that, when in a pronomial form, change their meaning:

  • J'ai demandé à mon thérapeute pourquoi je ne peux pas pleurer. (I asked my therapist why I can't cry)
  • Je me suis demandé pourquoi je ne peux pas pleurer. (I wondered why I can't cry)

Is there any way to use "demander" with the subject and object being the same, but with its non-pronomial meaning? That is, could I use "demander" to say "In my journal I wrote about my emotional blockages, by writing out questions to myself. In one question, I asked myself, "what is the reason that I can't cry?"?

And if I cannot use "demander", is there a way to say "I asked myself" (but not "I wondered") in French?

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Strictly, no, there is no way. There is an imperfect way but it wouldn't be used often; it is not a direct manner of asking oneself. It is imperfect because the question is put to anybody, although as well to oneself.

  • Je demande à savoir pourquoi je ne peux pas pleurer.

  • In my journal I wrote about my emotional blockages, by writing out questions to myself. In one question, I asked myself, "what is the reason that I can't cry?"

  • Dans mon journal j'ai écrit à propos de mes blocages émotionnels sous la forme de questions que je pose à moi-même. Dans l'une des questions, je demande à savoir pourquoi je ne peux pas pleurer.

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The meaning doesn't changes that much with a pronominal use, when you wonder something, you are kind of asking yourself a question a figurative way.

A verb that can be used to avoid a pronominal construct is chercher:

Je cherche pourquoi je ne peux pas pleurer.

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