Exercise 3

Fill in the gaps in the text with a suitable pronoun or word. Use only one word for each gap.

Is a society of image obsession the society we want for 1 ? Do we want to live in a world where we look at 2  more than we look at 3  other? Men and women of all ages only worry about 4 and about being the thinnest or the fittest in the room, and they envy those who are thinner or more muscular than 5 .

As I am one of those men and women, I should ask 6  whether I’m enjoying 7  in the process of working to achieve the perfect body. An obsession can never bring happiness, and the more obsessed we are, the more imperfect we find 8 . When we look in the mirror, we never really completely like what we see in front of 9 . And then the question is, is a superbody that we will never achieve worth the effort? I think it isn't.

We should be worried to achieve superhealth, not a superbody. But until we learn to think 10 ourselves and to have our own opinions and judgements, and not to be so influenced by others, we will continue to look for a superbody.



Reflexive pronouns

The reflexive  pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves. There is also a reflexive generic pronoun: oneself.

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


NOT after prepositions of place

We don’t use reflexive pronouns after prepositions of place; we use object pronouns instead.

  • She told her husband to sit in the chair in front of her. (NOT of herself)
  • They put their luggage behind them

And we don’t use reflexive pronouns after with when it means ‘accompanied by’.

  • He took his son with him.


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 the everything. 


by oneself

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


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 dress, shave, wash, relax, hurry, or open.

  • The first thing I do is wash, shave, and dress. (NOT wash/shave/dress myself)
  • 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. 


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 10 years. 
  • You should try to understand one another

We also can use the possessive forms each other’s and one another’s.

  • The lovers were found in each other’s arms. 
  • The couple enjoyed one another’s company so much that they soon decided to move in together.