Grammar Quiz #19: Reflexive Pronouns

By Mark Nichol - 1 minute read

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Pronouns ending in -self, -selves should be used only to refer to or emphasize another word in the sentence. These reflexive pronouns should not be used in place of other personal pronouns. Some of the sentences below are incorrectly using the reflexive pronouns. Edit as necessary:

1. His cousin and himself are the same age.

2. Jimmy fell off his bicycle and hurt himself.

3. The children himself decorated the tree.

4. The mother explained that her toddler likes to feed herself.

5. When you have finished filling out the form, give the paper to myself.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: His cousin and himself are the same age.
Correct : His cousin and he are the same age.

Himself does not refer to any other word in the sentence, so it’s incorrectly used here.

2.
Original: Jimmy fell off his bicycle and hurt himself.
Correct : Jimmy fell off his bicycle and hurt himself.

This sentence was correct originally, as himself refers to Jimmy.

3.
Original: The children himself decorated the tree.
Correct : The children themselves decorated the tree.

Children is plural so themselves should be used. The reflexive pronoun is used correctly here because it emphasizes the word children.

4.
Original: The mother explained that her toddler likes to feed herself.
Correct : The mother explained that her toddler likes to feed herself.

This sentence was correct originally. Herself refers to toddler.

5.
Original: When you have finished filling out the form, give the paper to myself.
Correct : When you have finished filling out the form, give the paper to me.

Myself does not refer to any other word, so it’s incorrect here.

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2 Responses to “Grammar Quiz #19: Reflexive Pronouns”

  • Claudia Phillips

    Thank you! Reflexive pronouns are misused so much! People seem to think they sound more intelligent when saying “myself” when they should say “me” or “I”.

  • D.A.W.

    A. I think that this was a very good subject to touch on! Thank you.
    B. I believe that millions of people will never get it! It could be that reflexive pronouns are fading from our language, just like the differences between “who”, “whom”, and “whose”, and the differences between “whose” and “who’s”.
    C. It might be helpful to list all of the reflexive pronouns now, and to write another article about this subject later.
    Singular: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself.
    Plural: ourselves, yourselves, themselves.
    Completely poisonous and toxic: “theirself” and “theirselves”, just like “irregardless”.
    Poisonous: confusing yore, your, you’re, and yours.

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