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Reflexive Pronoun
We use a reflexive pronoun in a sentence to refer back to a subject that
has already been identified.
"Reflexive" means "going back to itself."

Reflexive pronouns show that the action affects the person who
performs the action.
They end in "-self" (singular) or "-selves" (plural).

The reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself,

ourselves, themselves.

A reflexive pronoun is used when the object of a sentence is the same

as the subject.
Reflexive pronouns act as the object of the sentence by receiving the

She hugs herself.

A subject in a sentence is the noun that is performing the action.

The dog played.
In this sentence dog is the subject

The object of a sentence receives the action.

The dog played with the ball.
In this sentence, the ball is the object because it is receiving the action.


Summary table

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun

I myself
you (singular) yourself
you (plural) yourselves
he himself
she herself
it itself
we ourselves
they themselves

Reflexive pronouns always act as the objects, not subjects.

The vase fell off the shelf by itself.
The subject of this sentence is the vase. The object of this
sentence is also the vase (itself).

Sally talks to herself.

Sally is the subject of this sentence. Sally is also the object of this
sentence (herself).

Incorrect: Lisa and myself are going to the park.

In this sentence, Lisa and myself are the subjects. Reflexive
pronouns cannot be subjects.

Correct: I bought myself a piece of pie.

In this sentence I is the subject and myself is the object.
The reflexive pronoun is correctly used as an object in this


How to use a reflexive pronoun

1. Use a reflexive pronoun when the subject and object are the

She exhausted herself.

He tripped himself.
The cat cleaned itself.
Nick bought himself some popcorn.
We tried to fix it ourselves.

2. Use a reflexive pronoun as the object of a preposition when the

subject and object are the same.

He thought to himself.


A preposition is a word that is used before a noun to show its connection to

another word in the sentence. Here are a few common prepositions:

She is talking to herself.
He will go to the party by himself.
The boy finished it by himself.
We bought gifts for ourselves.

3. Use a reflexive pronoun to emphasize, or stress, the subject of

a sentence.

He drove the tractor himself.

He will do it himself. (He does not need any help.)
They painted the house themselves. (No one else helped them.)
The cat hurt itself. (No one else hurt the cat.)
My son read the book himself. (My son did not need help to read the


More examples of reflexive pronouns

Incorrect: The students completed the work by himself and herself.
Correct: The students completed the work by themselves.

Incorrect: She hurt himself.

Correct: She hurt herself.

Incorrect: We want to go by themselves.

Correct: We want to go by ourselves.

Incorrect: Tim and himself are cleaning the garage.

Correct: Tim is cleaning the garage by himself.