Grammar, Common Mistakes, and Examples of Reflexive Pronouns

Ah, grammar. I am well aware that English grammar is difficult and sometimes the bane of people’s existence. However, for me, I can’t help but love English grammar! I know, I am the odd one out here, but I do, truly, enjoy grammar. There are so many important things to know, and things that we could go over in this post because, well, grammar is just extremely important when learning English, but for now, I want to focus on reflexive pronouns exercises. I know, it’s not the most fun topic out there, but it is something that is important and good to know when studying English. So, keep reading to learn more about a reflexive pronoun exercise and reflexive pronoun examples.

What are reflexive pronouns?

Ok, so first things first, what are reflexive pronouns? In short, reflexive pronouns are words such as myself, yourself, himself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. So, basically anything ending with “-self” or “-selves”. These reflexive pronouns are often used when the subject and the object of a verb are the same.

EXAMPLE:

  • I hurt myself when I was playing basketball.

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Reflexive and intensive pronouns: are they the same?

Reflexive and intensive pronouns…these two kinds of pronouns are very similar. Some people even jokingly call them twins because they look the same, but they are actually different. As you may have guessed, yes, intensive pronouns end in -self and -selves just like reflexive pronouns. Confusing? Yeah, it is confusing, but don’t fear! I am here to go over the differences with you. So, like I said previously, reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and the object of a verb are the same. Intensive pronouns though, they are used to emphasize another noun or pronoun, and they do not need to refer to the subject. So, this is where intensive and reflexive pronouns differ.

To make this a little easier for you, let me start by giving you some examples of reflexive pronouns.

EXAMPLES:

  • I made myself lunch.
  • You should write a check to yourself.
  • The girl hurt herself on the playground.
  • My brother and I bought ourselves tickets to the concert.

See how these reflective pronouns must be used with an antecedent? Since these pronouns refer to the subject of the sentence, their antecedents will always be the subject.

Now, my reflexive and intensive pronoun examples will differ because intensive pronouns can refer to any noun in the sentence, not necessarily the subject.

EXAMPLES:

  • I made a custom microphone for Beyoncé herself.
  • My brother himself paid for my car to be fixed, after he wrecked it.
  • Stella approved the purchase, of the gown, herself.
  • You yourselves need to clean this up!

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Singular “they” and reflexive pronouns

Technically, the “singular they” which is used as both “themselves” and “themself”, are both acceptable reflexive pronouns. When it comes to common usage though, and reflexive pronoun grammar, the more acceptable word would be “themselves.”

EXAMPLES:

  • If anyone wants to go to the volleyball tournament, they will have to drive themselves.
  • I washed dishes last night, so if anyone puts anymore dirty dishes in the sink, they need to wash them themselves.

I know, these types of sentences sound strange, but grammatically speaking, they are correct.

Common mistakes in using reflexive pronouns

Now that you don’t have to ponder the question “what are reflective pronouns?”, and you’re familiar with some exercises for reflexive pronouns, let’s look at some common mistakes.

The best advice I can give you here is this… do not use reflexive pronouns in place for a regular, personal pronoun. You know, for pronouns like I, she, you, me, and so forth. Reflexive pronouns need to reflect on it’s antecedent, so, don’t say things like “Her mom is very different from her grandma and herself.” This is not only confusing, but very wrong.

EXAMPLES:

  • CORRECT: The attention of a celebrity like him might do a nobody like you some good.
  • INCORRECT: They attention of a celebrity like himself might do a nobody like you some good.

Reflexive pronouns in English are not too tricky, so don’t worry, the biggest hurdle to overcome is just identifying them.

To help you in avoiding mistakes, I suggest researching a list of reflexive pronouns and how to use them. This blog gives you the majority of information you will need to know, but as always, it doesn’t hurt in doing your own research as well.

All in all, grammar is hard. I know, trust me. Reflexive and intensive pronouns are not an exception; they can be tricky as well. However, just remember that everything ending in “-self” or “-selves” are either reflexive or intensive pronouns. Then, depending on the sentence, you can find out just exactly which one it is. Keep going strong, and learning English. I know you can do it!

How To Make Long Sentences In English

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Marcela
Marcela
1 year ago

I really loved this lesson. Thank you so much!!
I have heard you saying that you don’t teach grammar and I understand that you are focused in fluency but your explanation is clear, concise and useful.

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