Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns

English reflexive pronouns end in -self' or -selves and are used when the subject of the verb and the direct object of the verb are the same person. For example, in the sentence 'Jane bought herself a new coat' the reflexive pronoun 'herself' refers back to Jane'.

The singular reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself.
The plural reflexive pronouns are: ourselves, yourselves, themselves.


In the sentences below, the reflexive pronouns match the subject of the verb.

  • I cut myself on a broken glass.
  • Be careful with the knife or you'll hurt yourself.
  • He prepared himself for the bad news.
  • We shouldn't blame ourselves.
  • They are trained to defend themselves.
We use reflexive pronouns when we want to emphasize the person or thing already mentioned.

  • I told him myself.
  • Do it yourself!

We use reflexive pronouns with the proposition by when we do something alone or without help.
See also: How to use the preposition by

  • He lives by himself.
  • I managed to repair the television by myself.

We do not use reflexive pronouns after certain verbs.
  • He washed [himself] before going out.
  • They hid [myself] in my room.
  • She was feeling [herself] guilty.

After prepositions of place, we usually use personal pronouns.

  • We put the bag next to her [herself].
  • Can I bring a friend with me [myself]?

See also:
Personal Pronouns
Possessive Pronouns
Interrogative Pronouns
Indefinite Pronouns
Demonstrative Pronouns

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