Me, Myself, and I
Just as the personal pronouns I and me are frequently used incorrectly–the subject form I used instead of the object form me, and vice versa–the reflexive pronoun myself sometimes crops up where I or me belong.
As personal pronouns, I and me stand in the place of nouns, while the reflexive pronouns like myself emphasize a noun or a pronoun that is already in use as a subject or object word. They are “mirror words” which reflect a word already expressed (hence the name “reflexive”).
The reflexive pronoun forms are:
Singular: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself
Plural: ourselves, yourselves, and themselves
The forms “hisself,” “yourselfs,” “theirselfs” and similar variations are dialect forms.
The reflexive pronouns have two main uses:
1. They serve as the objects of verbs when the object is the same person or thing as the subject: I hurt myself. The baby saw herself in the mirror. We lost ourselves in the woods.
2. They are used to restate or emphasize another noun or pronoun in the sentence: The king himself signed the proclamation. These witnesses swear they saw it themselves.
The following constructions are incorrect:
Myself and the others attended the concert.
Jack and yourself are my best friends.
Editing for reflexive pronoun usage is easy. If the “self” word comes after the verb, you can see at a glance if it restates the subject. If the “self” word is anywhere else in the sentence, look to see if there is another noun or pronoun that it restates or emphasizes. If there is none, you probably need to use a personal pronoun instead of a reflexive one.
Want to improve your English in 5 minutes a day? Click here to subscribe and start receiving our writing tips and exercises via email every day.
Recommended Articles for You
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!