"He loves himself."
Right, but the stress seems appropriate here, n'est-ce pas?
I wanted to try to translate it as "He loves himself" and keep the meaning as English, implying himself and not some other.
So "Il s'adore" is ambiguous but "Il adore lui-même" says, very precisely as the English, "He loves himself".
It should be accepted, even if, say, "Il s'aime" is also?
I believe the problem is a degree of intensity, regarding the stressing of the lui même versus s'aime. I English, you only have''he loves himself'', while in French and other languages you have a simple reflexive action and another with stress on the fact that he is the recipient of the action. And there is a huge difference between the two in a conversation, at least in other languages like Romanian.
Strictly speaking, "adorer" would be used for god(s), so it is a very strong feeling.
In modern French, it is used in an emphatic, deliberately excessive way when it comes to people, animals or things.
If you say "I love this guy, he is so funny", this is obviously not about "true love", and the French verb will be "adorer": "j'adore ce type, il est si drôle".
Same thinking with things: "I love shoes" = "j'adore les chaussures".
Now, when it comes to "true love" or "family love", you will use "aimer": J'aime ma femme, mes enfants, mes parents... = I love my wife, my children, my parents...
With friendship or fellowship, you will use the verb "aimer" together with an adverb that will specify the type of feeling it is about:
- j'aime bien mes collègues = I like my colleagues (much/very much)
- j'aime beaucoup mon voisin = I like my neighbor (a lot)
You may also use adverbs to precise your feeling with things:
- j'aime le chocolat à la folie = I am crazy about chocolate
- j'aime énormément le bleu = I enjoy/like blue a lot/very much.
In negative statements, "ne pas aimer" will also have a different meaning depending on the object:
- je n'aime pas les fraises = I don't like strawberries
- j'aime bien Peter, mais je ne l'aime pas = I like Peter, but I don't love him.