Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject of the sentence does something to itself.

Just like intensive pronouns, they end in –self or –selves.

Examples of reflexive pronouns include:
- Myself
- Yourself/yourselves
- Himself
- Herself
- Itself
- Ourselves
- Themselves

 

Examples

"After I realized that I'd been calling my date by the wrong name the whole night, I quietly excused myself from the table and went home."

In this example, leaving the restaurant in shame is an action that the speaker wisely performs upon himself.

"We won the kickball tournament and gave ourselves a pat on the back."

Here ourselves indicates that the action of patting backs was performed by the speaker and his or her associate(s)…though we wonder how literal they're being.

"Clarissa sends herself a bouquet of roses every year on Valentine's Day."

In this somewhat depressing example, herself reflects the fact that the action of sending flowers is one that Clarissa performs for Clarissa. Chin up, Clarissa. You'll find love again.

 

Common mistakes

Me, myself, and I are going out for ice cream. Um, maybe if you weren't good with grammar…and had three personalities.

Reflexive pronouns constitute a particular subset of pronouns that can only be the object of the sentence. Never—we repeat, never—use one as the subject of your sentence.

Would you say Myself likes rainbow sherbet the best? No. So don't say Giorgio and myself like rainbow sherbet the best, either.

 

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