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"Self" and "selves" pronouns are often misused. The most common misuse is "myself" for I or me. The correct use is quite simple. Sometimes I hear “Mary and myself are going to the Cape.” Perhaps the speaker did not know whether to use “me” or “I.” See blog No. 2.
Personal pronouns to which the words “self” or “selves” are added are used in only two ways. Self and selves pronouns are not used in any other way ever. I mean ever.
1) To emphasize or intensify a noun or other pronoun.
I myself am responsible for this error. This “self” emphasizes the “I.”
Becca Manning answered the letter herself. This “self” emphasizes Becca Manning.
2) To reflect action back to the subject.
The boy hurt himself on the swing set. This “self” reflects back to the boy.
The Community Council interests itself in the well-being of our town. This “self” reflects back to the Community Council.
These pronouns are called compound because they add self or selves to a personal pronoun. A personal pronoun refers to a person speaking (he) or spoken to (him) or a person, place, or thing spoken of. See the chart below.
Intensive pronouns, No. 1 above, and reflexive pronouns, No. 2 above, may not be used for personal pronouns ever. Below are compound pronouns.
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