Writing for Business

Oct 6 2014   8:26PM GMT

Check yourself before you wreck yourself: Using reflexive pronouns correctly

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore


Which is correct?

interrobang Call __________ if you have any problems setting up the new modem.  

  1. myself or Gerald
  2. Gerald or myself
  3. Me or Gerald
  4. Gerald or me
  5. Gerald or I
  6. I or Gerald

Answer: 4. 


First of all, when you speak of yourself and another person, the other person goes first. That’s simple manners, kids.

Then, as the object of the sentence — the one called — the correct first person pronoun is meI is the correct form for the subject, as in I call Gerald when I have problems setting up my modemsMyself is a reflexive pronoun, used when the subject and object of a sentence (doer and one done to) are the same entity.  Examples: I scratched myself; I hurt myself; I embarrassed myself; I checked myself before I wrecked myself.

Myself is also used as an intensifier, adding emphasis to the fact that you are an individual and, as an individual, have certain habits or preferences (or other things). Example: I, myself, prefer informal but proper grammar.

Do you need more explanation about using myself and other reflexive pronouns correctly? Well, you are in luck. I have written about it here and here and here. Oh, and here. Yes, it’s a bit of a pet peeve. I’ve pretty much given up any hope of defeating myself abuse in the business world but I hate it so much that I can’t give up just yet.

So if you insist on referring to yourself as myself, know this: It may escape notice in the business world but elsewhere it strikes people as: A. pompous, and B. wrong, wrong, wrong.

twitter bird  Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

1  Comment on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.
  • AshishSingh10
    Very Informative.

    1,330 pointsBadges:

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: