For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4. If you would prefer to dive straight into note 15, then please read on…
Good evening. It’s the end of the weekend for me and as usual I haven’t got all my chores done and the house is looking a bit of a mess. The good thing is that my writing challenge makes me sit down and ignore all of that, so that I don’t disappoint myself and my readers (or should it be my readers and me, or my readers and myself ? I must research that).
The issue with the last sentence in the above paragraph got me looking up the word myself and to try and understand where you would use it in a sentence and if it’s correct to use it at all. I found a bit about the word myself in Brandon Royal’s The Little Red Writing Book and discovered that it is an example of a reflexive pronoun.
Apparently you mustn’t use a reflexive pronoun where another pronoun would do. I have also seen examples to suggest that if you use the word ‘I’ earlier in your sentence, it makes it okay to use the word ‘myself’ later on. Ah ha, I believe that both of those facts makes my sentence “…so that I don’t disappoint myself and my readers” correct, as I wouldn’t have said “so that I don’t disappoint me and my readers”.
Examples of reflexive pronouns, according to The Queen’s English by Bernard C. Lamb are myself, himself, herself, yourself, yourselves, themselves, ourselves, itself and oneself.
A few examples:
1. Example where you would not use reflexive pronouns in a sentence
I mentioned in note 9 – Is it ‘I’ or ‘me’ that pronoun words were used in place of an unnamed noun. In the following sentence a pronoun should be used instead of a reflexive pronoun:
“Don’t follow Jeremy and myself down the stairs” [incorrect – shown below with pronoun ‘me’ instead]
“Don’t follow Jeremy and me down the stairs” [correct – if you remove ‘Jeremy and’, then the sentence still sounds correct]
2. Examples where you would uses reflexive pronouns in a sentence
“Jane sat on the bench by herself”
“We like doing the jigsaw by ourselves”
Bernard C. Lamb in The Queen’s English explains that reflexive pronouns are also used when trying to emphasise. An example for that could be:
“I myself have nothing to say”
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Must sign off now for my late night snack and the usual chamomile tea.
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Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK
John Seeley, Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation