JS Tip 471: Reflexive Pronouns

From the Grammar Workshop: Reflexive Pronouns

Linda Miller of Salt Lake Community College asked ourselves to address the misuse of “myself.”

Wait a minute. 




The Discussion

Pronouns (I, you, we, he, she, they, etc.) are substitutes. They fill in for other words. The words they fill in for are called their antecedents

Today we’ll deal with a specific type of pronoun: a reflexive pronoun.

Reflexive pronouns end in -self (singular) or -selves (plural) and refer to their antecedents.

For example: “I could've kicked myself (“myself” referring to “I”) for gambling away the family fortune.”

The Problem

“Please call Jennifer or myself . . .” is wrong. Wrong.

“Myself” has no antecedent, and, therefore, wrong. 

So what do you do? Use “me”: “Please call Jennifer or me . . . .”

A Solution

Watch your writing. When you see a pronoun that ends with -self or -selves, make sure—absolutely sure—the reflexive pronoun has an antecedent, an earlier word, that it refers to.

Let us know your comments. We love this stuff


Mark Brooks