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reflexive pronoun


reflexive pronoun

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


A pronoun ending in -self or -selves that is used as an object to refer to a previously named noun or pronoun in a sentence.

Reflexive pronouns usually follow verbs or prepositions.

Reflexive pronouns have the same forms as intensive pronouns. Unlike intensive pronouns, reflexive pronouns are essential to the meaning of a sentence.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person."
    (Mark Twain)

  • "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    (Cyril Connolly)

  • "Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves."
    (Rudyard Kipling)

  • "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
    (Mark Twain)

  • "A kleptomaniac is a person who helps himself because he can't help himself."
    (Henry Morgan)

  • Hypercorrectness and Reflexive Pronouns
    "The tendency toward hypercorrectness occurs with the reflexives as well as with the personal pronouns. It's quite common to hear the reflexive where the standard rule calls for me, the straight objective case:
    1. * Tony cooked dinner for Carmen and myself.
    2. * The boss promised Pam and myself a year-end bonus.
    Note that the antecedent of myself does not appear in either sentence. Another fairly common nonstandard usage occurs when speakers use myself in place of I as part of a compound subject:
    * Ted and myself decided to go out and celebrate.
    These nonstandard ways of using the reflexive are probably related to emphasis as well as to hypercorrection. Somehow the two-syllable myself sounds more emphatic than either me or I."
    (Martha Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects, 3rd ed. Allyn and Bacon, 1999)
Pronunciation: ri-FLEX-siv PRO-nown
Also Known As: reflexive
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