Do You Misuse Myself?

Many people misuse the word myself. Do you?


Carl and myself ate lunch. --> Incorrect

Mike cooked lunch for Carl and myself. --> Incorrect

Myself can only be used as a reflexive pronoun or an intensive pronoun. Let's learn about each of these!

Reflexive Pronoun 

Reflexive pronouns are objects that refer (or reflect) back to the subject. They end in -self or -selves.

Remember that subjects tell us whom or what a sentence is about. Here are two sentences that show you how to use myself as a reflexive pronoun.

Sentence diagram of the reflexive pronoun MYSELF www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

I should treat myself to a day at the spa.

Myself is the direct object, and it's referring back to the subject of the sentence, I.

Sentence diagram of the reflexive pronoun MYSELF www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

I smiled at myself in the mirror.

Myself is the object of the preposition at. It's referring back to the subject of the sentence, I.

Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns are used to emphasize another noun or pronoun. They also end in -self or -selves. They're also called emphatic appositives.

Here are two examples of how to use myself as an intensive pronoun.

Psst! We diagram intensive pronouns in parentheses because they exist in the sentence only to emphasize another word. It's easy to see which word they emphasize when we look at these sentences diagrammed! In both of these sentences, that's the subject pronoun I.

Sentence diagram of the intensive pronoun MYSELF www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

myself have never had a manicure.

Myself is being used to emphasize the pronoun I.

Sentence diagram of the intensive pronoun MYSELF www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

myself paid for my popcorn.

Myself is being used to emphasize the pronoun I.

Common Misuses

Now let's take another look at those two common misuses.

1. Carl and myself ate lunch. --> Incorrect

In this sentence, myself is being used as a subject. But, myself isn't a subject pronoun. That's the role of the pronoun I. Here's how we could fix that sentence.

Sentence diagram www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

 Carl and I ate lunch. --> Correct

2. Mike cooked lunch for Carl and myself. --> Incorrect

In this sentence, myself is being used as an object. (It's the object of the preposition for.) But the only way it can be used as an object is if it refers back to the subject.

That's not the case here. The subject is Mike, and myself doesn't refer back to Mike. We need to change the word myself to me.

Sentence diagram www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

Mike cooked lunch for Carl and me. --> Correct

Here's a similar sentence that uses myself as a reflexive pronoun.

Sentence diagram MYSELF www.GrammarRevolution.com/reflexive-pronoun.html

I cooked lunch for Carl and myself. --> Correct

Myself is referring back to the subject. Both myself and are referring to the same person, so it works!

There you have it! Now you know that myself can only be a reflexive or intensive pronoun, and you know what's wrong with the two common misuses of myself.

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar.

THANK YOU SO MUCH! Your teaching helped me succeed on my final exam for English last week! I'm so happy!

- Gisela, Student

Our Free Guide Gives You A Fun Way To Teach And Learn The Basics!

If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, then follow a step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out for you and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro. The whole program is online, so you have instant access to these lessons and videos. It's easy and fun. You can get it at www.GrammarRevolution.com/daily-diagrams.html

Keep learning and have fun!

Using Get Smart has helped us to understand the English language so much better. Mrs. O'Brien explains things so clearly and repeats information just the right amount. The video lessons are short and to the point. The layout of the workbook is conversational and easy to understand with plenty of examples. We love it!

- Susan H., Homeschooler

Thanks for being a part of the Grammar Revolution!

Our Free Guide Gives You A Fun Way

To Teach And Learn The Basics v

Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of Grammar Revolution.

Her lessons are guaranteed to give you more confidence in your communication skills and make you smile. :)

Other Helpful Lessons