Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns are one of the seven types of pronouns. Pronouns having self/selves (suffix) to show how subjects action affects subjects themselves are known as Reflexive Pronouns.

These pronouns always refer back to subject. These pronouns are known as object pronouns. We use these pronouns when the noun used in a sentence is both the subject and object.

There are eight Reflexive Pronouns. They are as follows:

Myself (Singular)              

  • I imagined myself as a social worker.
  • I looked at myself in the window pane.

Yourself (Singular)/Yourselves (Plural)

  • Be aware! Your pride may harm yourself.
  • The dinner is on the table. Could you help yourselves?

Ourselves (Plural)

  • We give credit to ourselves for any success we achieve.
  • We cook ourselves.

Herself (Singular)

  • Nicole sent herself a pizza.
  • The happy girl was talking to herself.

Himself (Singular)

  • The boy hit himself with the bat in anger.
  • He can do his work himself.

Itself (Singular)

  • The dog can get the ball itself.
  • The cat opened the window itself.

Themselves (Plural)

  • The two sisters baked cake for themselves.
  • Working whole night, aunts saved money for themselves.

The things that we should pay attention while using Reflexive Pronouns are as follows:

  • Reflexive Pronouns should not be used after verbs which describe actions people do for themselves 
    e.g. I shaved myself(Inappropriate) I shaved. (Correct)
  • Reflexive Pronouns should not be used after Prepositions of Place. 
    eg. They bid him goodbye and shut the door themselves. (Inappropriate)
    They bid him goodbye and shut the door.
  • The Reflexive Pronouns should be used with verbs of emphasis like despite, in spite, enough etc.
  • Reflexive Pronouns are used to emphasize the person, place or thing we are talking about. These pronouns are often used with famous personalities.
    eg. Martin Luther King wrote the speech himself. (Correct)
  • Reflexive Pronouns should be used less or not be used at all with few words. They are as follows:
    Complain, relax, hide, adapt, meet, move, remember, shower, shave, concentrate etc.

Some of the examples of how Reflexive Pronouns are used are given below:

  • Ginny does not believe herself.
  • I often praise myself.
  • The suicide bomber blew himself.
  • The gang members fought among themselves.
  • You cannot lie to yourself.
  • The dog found the food itself.
  • Can you do your homework yourself?
  • Do you all mind cleaning rooms yourselves?