Me, Myself, I – Reflexive Pronouns and how to use them
Ahhhh, reflexive pronouns! I was unfortunate to be away from school for quite some time when I was about 10 years old due to a burst appendix, and I missed all these fabulous parts of speech.
I admit that some of them are still tricky for me to get my mind around, because I missed those months of repeat-after-me lessons by my teacher with a ruler in her hand. Yes, that’s what they used to help us learn way back when! Thank heavens those times have changed … let’s see what we can learn from this lesson in grammar and parts of speech.
Two people wrote in about Reflexive Pronouns :
I myself, You yourself etc
Thank you to Karen Z of Mississauga, Canada [Aug 2001]
and Connie Kozlowski [July 1999]
So many people and newspapers say :
“John, Sue and myself went to the store.”
Ouch! This sounds as if someone is trying to be polite and they are not sure about whether to use *I* or *me* … perhaps with some misguided sense of false modesty.
My suggestion is always this: think how you would say the sentence if you removed the other people from it. For example, would you say the sentence above as:
“Myself went to the store.”
I *hope* you wouldn’t!
Would you say, “Me went to the store.”
No, of course not.
You’d say, “I went to the store.”
So it should be, “John, Sue and I went to the store.” This is the correct way to say this statement.
Let’s look at this sentence again:
“John, Sue and I went to the store.”
To make sure it is correct, let’s remove John and Sue: and add the word myself [reflexive pronoun]:
“I went to the store myself.”
Correct! That’s the way it should look AND sound! So now you can remove the word ‘myself’.
There has to be a noun or pronoun in the subject (in this case “I”) before you can refer back to it with a reflexive pronoun, such as :
myself, himself, herself, themselves.
I can hear you thinking, “D’oh? What does *that* mean?”.
t means, dear friend, that if you are going to use one of these:
myself, himself, herself, themselves
then you MUST use one of these as well, to match it!
I myself, he himself, she herself, they themselves!!