Myself, Yourself & Themselves


Did you know that there is a group of pronouns called reflexive pronouns? I know, right? Not mentioned that often. I hardly remember studying them in school at all. And yet, we use them all the time—and even eloquent people use them wrong quite often. (How many interviews or speeches have you heard someone say, “Then my friend and myself….” or “He began talking to my friend and myself…” WRONG!

So here is the scoop…that I am giving to you by MYSELF…actually my technical assistant will put this all together HERSELF and make it look amazing, so I can’t really say that I am doing it all by MYSELF. Sorry…..I couldn’t help it…


First of all, myself, yourself, and ourselves are pronouns known as reflexive pronouns. That is, they reflect back to the antecedent (a noun or pronoun earlier in the sentence).


When we say that Donna is the antecedent to herself in the sentence “Donna gave herself a pat on the back,” we are saying that herself is a pronoun and Donna is the antecedent (the word that herself refers back to).



So, reflexive pronouns reflect or refer back to another word. They cannot be used alone (i.e. myself can not be used without a noun or pronoun earlier in the sentence as its antecedent).
1.       I bought myself some candy. (Myself refers back to/is reflexive of I.)
2.       Donna bought herself some candy. (Herself refers back to/is reflexive of Donna.)
3.       He looked at himself in the mirror. (Himself refers back to/is reflexive of He.)


The key to understanding and using reflexive pronouns is to not use THEM by THEMSELVES!


Thus, you wouldn’t say the following:
1.       Ray and myself went to town. (There is no noun for myself to refer back to. You need the subjective I in this sentence…Ray and I.)
2.       They gave it to him and myself. (Same thing—no noun or pronoun for myself to refer back to.)




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