Explanations » B1 Grammar Explanations » Reflexive pronouns – myself, yourself, etc.

Reflexive pronouns

Educational chart detailing reflexive pronouns such as 'myself, yourself, himself' and their uses in sentences, with sections on reciprocal pronouns 'each other' and 'one another' and phrases like 'by myself' for B1 Intermediate English learners.

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

Same subject and object

The reflexive pronouns are normally used when the subject and the object are the same person.

  • She cut herself chopping the onions. 
  • We really enjoyed ourselves at the party. 
  • Talking to oneself is not necessarily a sign of madness. 

After preposition

We can use reflexive pronouns after most prepositions if they refer back to the subject.

  • He should be really proud of himself
  • With the 3-D printer and this scanner, you can print a small version of yourself

To emphasise who did the action

We also use a reflexive pronoun to emphasise that the subject does the action and nobody else. In this sense, we can use the reflexive at the end of the sentence or after the subject.

  • I will talk to Anna myself
  • I think you should do it yourself instead of having it done. 
  • Paul himself designed everything. 

Verbs with NO reflexive pronoun

Students of English often make mistakes when they use some verbs which are used reflexively in their language but not in English. Some of these verbs are concentrate, dress, shave, wash, relax, hurry, or open.

  • The first thing I do is wash, shave, and dress.
  • When I arrive home, I only want to relax on the sofa. 
  • Please hurry, or we’ll be late. 
  • The door opened, and everybody got in. 

By myself, on my own

We can say by myself, by yourself, etc. to mean ‘alone, without anybody else’, or ‘without anybody’s help’.

  • My son doesn’t like to be by himself; he always wants us around. 
  • She raised her four children by herself

We can also say on my own, on your own, etc.

  • I was on my own all morning.
  • She did it on her own.

Reciprocal pronouns

We use each other or one another when person A does something to person B and person B does something to person A.

  • When the twins found each other, they had been living apart for more than ten years. 
  • You should try to understand one another