Reflexive Pronouns

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Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns indicate you’re talking about yourself. They’re used as an object of a verb when it refers to the same noun as the subject. It sounds confusing, but really isn’t.

Sometimes it helps to look at reflexive pronouns by person and number. Check out the following chart:

Singular Plural
1st Personmyselfourselves
2nd Personyourselfyourselves
3rd Personitselfthemselves

For information about using gender neutral reflexive pronouns, check out Gender Pronouns.

When Do I Use Reflexive Pronouns?

If the subject and the object within a sentence are the same, then you can use a reflexive pronoun for the object. Sometimes it helps to look at them in relation to their subject pronouns.

Subject Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Example
ImyselfI was proud of myself for winning the prize.
youyourselfYou are old enough to do that for yourself.
hehimselfHe saw it himself that night at the game.
sheherselfShe poured herself a glass of lemonade.
ititselfIt climbed up the tree and made itself comfortable on a branch.
weourselvesWe wanted to go experience it for ourselves.
you (plural)yourselvesYou should all go and play the game yourselves.
theythemselvesThey told themselves that over and over again.


Avoid using the incorrect reflexive pronoun with these simple tips:

  • Don’t use a reflexive pronoun just because it sounds more formal. Use it when it’s correct - as a reference back to the subject of the sentence when both receive the action of the verb.

    Correct: If you need help, just ask Shari or me.

    Incorrect: If you need help, just ask Shari or myself.

    In this case, you can’t ask yourself, so there’s no need to use myself in this context.

  • Check yourself by replacing the subject or pronoun in a different structure.

    Correct: Just ask me if you need help.

    Incorrect: Just ask myself if you need help.

  • Exception to the rule - sometimes people use a reflexive pronoun for emphasis, indicating something unusual, interesting, or notable about the person in the sentence.

    You can see the difference with these two sentences:

    She began to understand the truth.

    She herself began to understand the truth.

It definitely gives more emphasis in the second sentence, indicating something unusual.

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