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2. Reflexive Pronouns – The -self Words

Myself and Other Mistakes

These are the reflexive ‑self pronouns, and we use them in the objective function to handle situations where the subject and the object of the sentence are the same person. (As discussed below, we also use these words as intensive pronouns).

Repeat after me: We use the reflexive ‑self pronouns in the objective function when the subject and object of the sentence are the same.

Also, these reflexive pronouns will immediately follow a verb or a preposition. You might repeat that to yourself 10 times or so.

‑self Words, Reflexive Pronouns

Suppose Amberinflicted some injury on Amber; the subject (Amber) and the object (Amber) are the same. If I say, Amber hurt her or She hurt her, you have no clue about whetherAmber hurtAmber orAmber hurt somebody else.

To solve this problem, Amber, Igor, and Miss Hamrick developed the reflexive pronoun so that action could reflect back on the actor. Thus:

Amber hurt herself.

The following table shows the reflexive and intensive pronouns:

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns, A List

Here, memorize the ‑self words:

Person Singular Plural
First Person myself ourselves
Second Person yourself yourselves
Third Person himself
herself
itself
themselves

 

‑self Words, Used as Objects

Again, repeat after me: We use the reflexive ‑self pronouns in the objective function when the subject and object of the sentence are the same. Focus in on that, please: when the subject and the object are the same.

Thus, study these examples where the subject and object refer to the same person or people:

Amber hurt herself.
We gave ourselves a party.
Do yourself a favor. (The implied subject is you.)

As mentioned above, the reflexive ‑self pronoun should follow either the verb or a preposition:

He punished himself for his stupidity. (Follows the verb punished.)
She gave a present to herself. (Follows the preposition to.)

‑self  Words, Remember Two Things

1. Use the ‑self pronoun only when the subject of the sentence and an object in the sentence are one and the same.
2. Never use a ‑self pronoun as a subject, only as an object.

The reflexive ‑self pronoun should not be used unless the person referred to and the subject are one and the same. When two people are involved so that the subject and object are not the same, in formal settings it’s incorrect to use the reflexive pronoun and say:

Wrong: He hurt myself.
Right: He hurt me.

Wrong: The opponent sent the report to Fred and myself.
Right: The opponent sent the report to Fred and me.

Wrong: Please research this issue for Jane and myself.
Right: Please research this issue for Jane and me.

The reflexive pronouns should always serve as objects, never as subjects. In formal settings, it is a grammatical mistake to use a reflexive pronoun as the subject of a sentence:

Wrong: The committee and myself will decide this issue.
Right: The committee and I will decide this issue.

Wrong: Jane and myself enjoyed the dinner at your house.
Right: Jane and I enjoyed the dinner at your house.

The ‑self words also act as intensive pronouns.

 

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Next: 2. Intensive Pronouns – The -self Words

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