Reflexive Pronouns ∼ Easier than You Think!

Do you think that Reflexive Pronouns are confusing? If so, read on. The good news is that they are limited in number and limited in use. We only use Reflexive Pronouns to reflect back on someone or something, just like a mirror.

https://unsplash.com/photos/GBEHjsPQbEQ

The monkey can see its reflection.

Look at the monkey in the picture. 

1. The monkey is looking at itself.   

 2. It is looking  at itself.

3. Itself is looking at itself.  

4. The monkey is looking at the monkey.


Reflexive Pronouns cannot be subjects in a sentence because …

First, a different word is the subject, and second, the Reflexive Pronoun refers (or reflects back) to the subject. So, sentence #3 is incorrect.

Sentence #4 seems to refer to two monkeys, so the meaning is incorrect. 

Reflexive Pronouns:

Singular:  ♦ myself    ♦ yourself    ♦ himself    ♦ herself    ♦ itself     ♦ oneself   

Plural:  ♦♦ ourselves    ♦♦ yourselves    ♦♦ themselves

https://unsplash.com/photos/0DPyb8t_KfI

Mi Pham is really enjoying himself. In fact, all the children are enjoying themselves.

https://unsplash.com/photos/h5rgWo1_F_U
A: “Would you like to try some of this delicious bread?  made it myself.”

B: “Really? You made it yourself?  Of course I’d love to try some!”                                                                                          ∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

 

“Try  some   of   our   new https://unsplash.com/photos/0VLn5nrp6hERosé. We sell most of the wine we produce but of course we keep quite a bit for ourselves!

Do you like the wine label? Louise designed it  herself.

Help yourselves to whatever you feel like! As you can see, there is plenty of luscious food and wine, most of it produced here on the farm.”

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

∗ Can you see the subject in the sentence?

Help yourselves to whatever you feel like! 

No? You can’t see the subject?! Don’t all sentences have to include a subject?!

Yes, that’s right. English Sentences must include a subject and a verb. The only time that you don’t see the subject is in Imperative sentences where it is implied. The subject is always You and the sentence starts with the verb:

(You) Help yourselves to whatever you feel like!

(You) Enjoy yourself at the party.

(You) Take care of yourself.

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

The Reflexive Pronoun myself is often used incorrectly as a subject.

For example:

The top chef and myself made a Christmas cake. X

The top chef and I made a Christmas cake. 

We made a Christmas cake. 

 Remember that Reflexive Pronouns cannot be subjects in a sentence. Also, the top chef and myself are two different people, so myself does not refer to anyone. Reflexive pronouns are like a mirror reflection. They reflect back on someone or something. Reflexive Pronouns cannot be used alone!

The Reflexive Pronoun myself is also often used incorrectly as an object. 

For example:

The chef made the cake for myselfX

The chef made the cake for me. 

If you would like more information, you can contact myself anytime. X

If you would like more information, you can contact me anytime. 

Other Reflexive Pronouns are sometimes used incorrectly; however, myself causes the most problems! This is because native speakers get confused with ‘I’ and ‘me’. For more information, click here.

However, Reflexive Pronouns can be used  correctly as an object. Look at the difference between correct and incorrect usage:

For example:

1. I should look after myself better. 

https://unsplash.com/photos/wyMDFE1qezg

She is not cooking mussels for herself.

2. I should look after me betterX

3. Did you hurt yourself

4. Did you hurt youX

5. Madonna loves herself

6. Madonna loves herX

7. We can look after our children ourselves

8. We can look after our children usX

9. The mother is cooking mussels for the family, but not for herself. She doesn’t like mussels. 

10. The mother is cooking mussels for the family, but not for sheX

11. Does one ever truly know oneself? (formal / non-specific) 

12. Does one ever truly know oneX

∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼

For more information, examples and practice exercises, click herehere, here, and here.

                        

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Upper Intermediate (Level 5) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Reflexive Pronouns ∼ Easier than You Think!

  1. Pingback: Reflexive Pronouns ∼ Easier than You Think! — Mary’s English Blog – Online English Teacher & Voice Coach

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.