Posted by: Jack Henry | February 1, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Pronouns That End in “Self”

Good morning. Let’s talk “reflexive pronouns” today.

Pronouns that end in self (myself, etc.) and selves (themselves, etc.) are called reflexive pronouns.

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

They’re called reflexive because they always refer to a person or thing mentioned previously in the same clause. Here are some examples that use reflexive pronouns correctly:

  • I baked the cake myself.
  • You will have to drive yourself to the doctor.
  • Jim thought of himself as an entrepreneur.
  • The dog let itself out through the doggy door.
  • We laughed ourselves silly.

People frequently use reflexive pronouns incorrectly. The rule is that you can only use the pronoun myself, when you’ve already used the subject I. It might also help to know that you should use a reflexive pronoun only when the subject and object in a clause are the same person (“I and myself” or “you and yourself” or “Jim and himself”).

The following examples are not correct because a reflexive pronoun is being used that does not refer back to a subject.

  • The team consists of Jim and myself.
    (The pronoun myself does not refer to the subject I.)
    Correction: The team consists of Jim and me.
  • Only the managers and yourself will see the list of potential employees.
    (The pronoun yourself does not refer to the subject you.)
    Correction: Only the managers and you will see the list of potential employees.

If you’d like to read more about reflexive pronouns, take a look at these previous Editor’s Corner posts:

If you’d like to take a break from it all, and just spend a moment looking at something so cute it hurts, watch at this very short video of a baby elephant chasing birds.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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