Do Yourself a Favor and Learn about Reflexive Pronouns

I sometimes see writers misuse reflexive pronouns—pronouns that have the suffix self (or selves) tagged on. For example, note these incorrect sentences:

  • My wife and myself thank you for the gift.
  • Deliver the cake to my partner or myself.
  • You should include ourselves in the vacation.

Take a moment to learn what reflexive and intensive personal pronouns are. A reflexive pronoun renames the subject as an object: “She gave herself a birthday present.”

An intensive pronoun is used in apposition (renaming the noun) to add emphasis: “I myself have climbed Everest three times.”

In the incorrect examples, the personal pronouns with the suffix self/selves do not belong. There is no apposition or the renaming of a pronoun as the subject of the verb. So you’d rewrite those sentences this way:

  • My wife and I thank you for the gift.
  • Deliver the cake to my partner or me.
  • You should include us in the vacation.

If you try to insert yourself where you don’t belong, you will only give yourself a big headache. I myself have done that plenty of times!

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