30 September Saturday

How to use reflexive pronouns

Dr.P.K.JayarajUpdated: Monday Oct 15, 2018

Today’s topic is the use of reflexive pronouns. What are reflexive pronouns? Reflexive pronouns are words ending with –self or –selves that are used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same. Example: I believe in myself. All personal pronouns have a matching reflective pronoun. The nine English reflective pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, oneself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves. The word reflexive is related to reflect; this is useful to remember because a reflexive pronoun reflects back upon a sentence’s subject. Reflexive pronouns can act as either direct objects or indirect objects. We use a reflexive pronoun as a direct object when the object is the same as the subject of the verb. Example: She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. I taught myself how to speak Spanish. The dog had fees and it was scratching itself the whole day. We wanted the house ourselves. They blamed themselves for the accident. When do we use reflexive pronoun with the word ‘by’? We use by + myself/yourself/himself/yourselves/themselves etc when we are alone or not with another person. Examples: Jacob went to the party by himself. The children can decorate the Christmas tree by themselves. I and Jim can paint the wall all by ourselves. What is the difference between ‘yourself’ and ‘yourselves’? Yourself is singular so you should only use it when talking about one person. Yourselves is the plural form so it should be used when speaking about more than one person. Examples: Did you write the research article yourself? We enjoyed ourselves at the party. Themselves or themself-which is correct? The standard reflexive pronoun form which corresponds to the plural forms they and them is themselves. Examples: I told them to help themselves. They were sitting around the fire and trying to keep themselves warm. People often misuse reflexive pronouns. The most common mistake of all is the incorrect use of reflexive pronouns in compound subjects or compound objects in a sentence. Here is an example of the former type of misuse. Mohan and myself will conduct today’s meeting. How do we know that myself does not belong as part of the compound subject (Mohan and the speaker) in this sentence? Remove Mohan from the sentence to see if what remains function correctly. Myself will conduct today’s meeting. Clearly, myself does not work, but the subject pronoun I does. Hence the correct sentences are: I will conduct today’s meeting. Mohan and I will conduct today’s meeting. Complete the following sentences using reflexive pronouns 1.She looked at........in the bathroom mirror. a)itself b)herself c)myself d)themselves 2.Every morning I wash.........and clean my teeth. a)myself b)itself, c)yourself d)ourselves 3.I taught .....how to speak Spanish. I never had a teacher. a)himself b)yourself c)myself d)itself 4.The dog had flees and was scratching.......the whole day! a)himself b)herself c)yourself d)itself 5)Nobody wanted to help them, so they cleared the streets....... a)ourselves b)themselves c)yourselves d)yourself 6)Wow! Did you write this research article..........? a)yourself b)yourselves c)himself d)themselves 7.Boby is a bit crazy. He always sits alone and talks to ....... a)yourself b)ourselves c)himself d)itself 8.They blamed.......for the accident, because they didn’t pay attention to road signs. a)himself b)yourself c)ourselves d)themselves 9. We wanted the house...........But nobody helped us. a)yourself b)ourselves c)himself d)itself 10.Jane is a baby. She is too small to eat by...... a)itself b)herself c)himself d)yourself 11.The children can decorate the Christmas tree by....... a)himself c)yourselves c)themselves d)yourself 12. The house…… is nice, but the garden is small. a)yourself b)himself c)ourselves d)itself 13.You are five years old, Danny. You have to comb your hair by…….. a)yourself b)himself c)itself d)yourselves 14. Don’t help us, Dad. I and Jim can paint the wall all by…… a)yourself b)yourselves c)ourselves d)themselves 15.If you can’t do this exercise by……., ask the teacher for help. a)himself b)yourself c)himself d)themselves 16.She was so much in love with ……that she thought of none else. a)yourself b)yourselves, c)itself d)herself 17. We enjoyed……..at the party. a)ourselves b)themselves c)yourself d)itself 18. If you want more to eat, help……… a)yourself b)yourselves c)themselves d)himself 19. Do you sometimes talk……? a)himself b)yourselves c)yourself d) themselves 20. I don’t want you to pay for me. I will pay for….. a)himself b)yourself c)myself d)itself Answers: 1)b, 2)a, 3)c, 4)d, 5)b, 6)a, 7)c, 8)d, 9)b, 10)b, 11)c, 12)d, 13)a, 14)c, 15)b, 16)d, 17)a, 18)b, 19)c, 20)c

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