Reflexive actions

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Feb. 10, 2010

Reflexive pronouns are those that end in “-self” — myself, herself, themselves and so on. These pronouns are used when a subject and an object are the same person.

Reflexive pronouns can be direct obects:
Vampires can’t see themselves in a mirror.

They can be indirect objects:
The Invisible Man bought himself a fresh roll of bandages.

They can be objectbrides of a preposition:
With that hairdo, Frankenstein’s bride found it hard not to draw attention to herself.

They can even be used for special emphasis on a subject or an object:
Even Dr. Frankenstein himself realized that it all could end badly.
Make sure you deliver this message to Mina Harker herself — don’t leave it on the table.
When nothing the others did seemed to be able to stop the Blob, the teenagers went after it themselves.

But remember that reflexives should not be used when the subject and the object are two different people:
*The mummy came after Sir Joseph and myself.
Use: The mummy came after Sir Joseph and me.

And a reflexive should never be used as a subject:
*John and myself set out in search of werewolves.
Use: John and I set out in search of werewolves.

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