Reflexive Pronouns

English Grammar Rules


When the Subject and the Object in a sentence refer to the same person or thing we use a Reflexive Pronoun.

It is the only area of English grammar that is reflexive.

Subject
Pronouns
Reflexive
Pronouns
I Myself
You Yourself
He Himself
She Herself
It Itself
We Ourselves
You (pl) Yourselves
They Themselves

If you are using YOU in the plural, the reflexive pronoun is yourselves.

Examples of sentences using reflexive pronouns:


When to use reflexive pronouns

1. When the subject and the object refer to the same person or thing.

2. We use them for emphasis.

3. In some cases we use it to have a similar meaning to also.


When NOT to use reflexive pronouns

1. There are a number of verbs in English with which we rarely or never use reflexive pronouns (as they are in other languages).

They include: adapt, behave, complain, concentrate, get up, hide, lie down, meet, move, relax, remember, shave, shower, sit down.

2. After a preposition of place or location we use a personal pronoun and not a reflexive pronoun.


Ourselves, Themselves and Each Other

1. We use each other when two or more people or things perform the same action to the other.

2. Take note of the difference between these two sentences:


More about Each Other

We use the reciprocal pronoun each other when the action is between two people, and not reflexive.

And to make the contrast clearer:


Reflexive Pronouns with Objects

We use verb + reflexive pronoun + object when we do something for ourselves.

We use verb + object + reflexive pronoun when we want to emphasize that another person did not do the action (or assist).


By + Reflexive Pronouns

We use by + myself/yourself/himself etc when we are alone or not with another person.



Next activities

Try our game about Reflexive Pronouns vs Object Pronouns.

See our grammar notes about Object Pronouns.


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