March 28th, 2011 in English Grammar
Reflexive pronouns are words like myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, themselves, yourselves etc.
A common use of reflexive pronouns is to talk about actions where the subject and the object are the same person.
The old woman killed herself. (Here the subject and the object refer to the same person.)
I went to the shop to buy myself some clothes.
A reflexive pronoun can be used as subject or object emphasiser.
The Minister himself said this.
I myself did the work.
I will see the President himself if I have to.
By oneself, by himself etc
The expressions by oneself, by himself etc can mean either ‘alone’ or ‘without company’.
I would like to spend a quiet evening by myself.
He said that he could do it by himself.
My own, your own etc
There are no possessive reflexives. Instead, we use my own, your own etc.
He always cooks his own food.
Reflexives not used
Certain verbs cannot be used with reflexive pronouns in English. Examples are: open, sell, concentrate, feel etc.
Your book is selling well. (NOT Your book is selling itself well.)
I feel strange. (NOT I feel myself strange.)
Themselves/ourselves and each other/one another
There is a difference between themselves/ourselves and each other/one another.
They spent hours talking to themselves. (Each of them talked to himself/herself.)
They spent hours talking to each other. (Each of them talked to the other.)