If you think this is yet another of those boring grammar lessons, then stop! Honestly, you already know what reflexive pronouns are, but only to realize that this is what grammar calls it.
All the words, rather pronouns, that end with the suffix ‘self’ or ‘selves’ are all Reflexive Pronouns. But, the only condition to qualify in this section is that the subject and the object of the sentence must be the same.
Not the time to get confused, but to clear the years of pronoun mess! Here’s a simple example to break down the above explanation. Roberta gave herself a pat on her back after she completed her laps.
As you see in the above sentence, the subject, ‘Roberta’ and the object ‘herself’ are both the same people. Look at the example; ‘herself’ is a reflexive pronoun because the word reflects upon the subject. Now, what if the sentence was a little different?: Roberta gave Martina a pat on her back after she completed her laps, then there would be an absence of a reflective pronoun.
In the second example, Roberta and Martina are two different individuals, thus making the subject and the object different.
The nine basic Reflexive Pronouns
Since you that you have to play with the suffixes ‘self’ and ‘selves’ you should know that there are nine types of them. Here goes:
- Myself- I will myself travel till the station and deliver this package.
- Himself- Alex will drive himself to the airport and leave the car in the parking until he returns that night.
- Herself- Gloria has herself cooked this delicious Thanksgiving Meal for all of us.
- Yourself- You should hold yourself responsible for this error, and make up for it before things get out of hand.
- Ourselves- We should be ashamed of ourselves for leaving the door open for the third time in the week; had we been careful, then our cat wouldn’t have gotten away.
- Yourselves- Please make yourselves comfortable, as though in your own home.
- Itself- The dog wounded itself when it chased the bullies away from the street.
- Oneself– One needn’t beat oneself up for being a little selfish; I think i is acceptable.
- Themselves- They will confess to the crime themselves when the Chief Officer will interrogate them.
Common Errors When Using Reflexive Pronouns
People often say, “Please make sure you submit the assignment to Miss Rosie or myself by this weekend”. This is not the right manner of using a reflexive pronoun! Read the sentence about four to five times, and you will not find a good ring to it.
The reason is that this sentence doesn’t require a reflexive pronoun, as the subject and the object aren’t the same. What should you say then? “Please make sure you submit the assignment to Miss Rosie or me by this weekend.”
Even though this piece is a much grammatical perspective on our topic, you should know that common people err when using reflexive pronouns, and how. When we can avoid it, then why not? It is for the best that every English speaker knows the basics that knit this language together!
Get notified as soon as new "Word of the day is published"