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intensive pronoun


intensive pronoun

These compound pronouns can function as either intensive pronouns or reflexive pronouns.


A pronoun ending in -self or -selves that serves to emphasize its antecedent.

Intensive pronouns often appear as appositives after nouns or other pronouns.

Intensive pronouns have the same forms as reflexive pronouns. Unlike reflexive pronouns, intensive pronouns are not essential to the basic meaning of a sentence.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether he himself was a lunatic."
    (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1948)

  • "But it is only through constant, faithful endeavor by the girl herself that the goal eventually is reached."
    (Florenz Ziegfeld)

  • "Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain."
    (John Locke)

  • "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
    (Mother Teresa)

  • "It seems to me, that if you tried hard, you would in time find it possible to become what you yourself would approve."
    (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847)

  • The Difference Between Intensive and Reflexive Pronouns
    "The contrast between reflexive and intensive pronouns is well illustrated with sit down, an intransitive verb that can also be used causatively, e.g. She sat the child down. It can be seen that John sat himself down is a reflexivised causative, whereas John himself sat down and John sat down himself are intransitive, with an intensive pronoun that relates to the subject NP.

    "Intensive pronouns are generally not placed in structural positions that could be filled by a reflexive pronoun. Watch is a transitive verb which can omit its subject--John watched Mary, John watched himself (on the video), John watched. In this case an intensive pronoun from the subject NP (John himself watched) would not be likely to be moved to a position after the verb, since it could then be mistaken for a reflexive substitute for the object NP. However, an intensive pronoun could be moved after an explicit object NP (especially if there was a gender difference), e.g. John watched Mary himself."
    (Robert M. W. Dixon, A Semantic Approach to English Grammar. Oxford Univ. Press, 2005)
Also Known As: intensive reflexive pronoun
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