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.
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.”
“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 . . . .”
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.
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