Posted by: episystechpubs | March 4, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Reflexive Pronouns

Today we have reflexive pronouns on the menu.

Reflexive pronouns are easy to spot, but they are still often misused.

Person Singular Form Plural Form
first person myself ourselves
second person yourself yourselves
third person himself themselves
herself themselves
itself themselves

According to our book, The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage:

Reflexive pronouns must refer back to a specific noun (usually, but not always, the subject) in the same sentence. This noun is called the antecedent of the reflexive pronoun. The term reflexive comes from a Latin word meaning “bend back.”

Here are some examples of the correct and incorrect uses of reflexive pronouns.

Correct:

· He looked at himself in the mirror and straightened his tie. (He is the antecedent for the reflexive pronoun himself.)

· She was angry at herself for forgetting to bring the birthday card. (She is the antecedent; herself is the reflexive pronoun.)

· When I’m alone, I often talk to myself. (I is the antecedent; myself is the reflexive pronoun.)

· Grandma gave to cookies to Fritz and me. (Myself is not used since there is no reflexive pronoun antecedent and Fritz and me are the objects of the sentence. Often people use “myself” in this structure because they don’t know whether to use I or me at the end. Remember from yesterday: I is the subject and me is the object.)

Incorrect:

· My mom and myself are going to the store. (There is no antecedent in this sentence for myself to refer back to.)

· Joel laughed at Victor and myself. (There is no antecedent in this sentence for myself to refer back to.)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

www.symitar.com

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