Grammar 101: How To Use 'Myself'

Learn why saying "Mary and myself are going to the Cape" is incorrect. Read a piece from the Harvard Business School blog about how important grammar is to one executive.

Did you think I was making up the importance of good grammar?  Check out this Harvard Business Review blog site piece: “I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why.”

"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  

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.

Technical stuff: 

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.   

Singular                                 Plural       

myself                                    ourselves

yourself                                  yourselves

himself, herself,
itself                                       themselves 


Got a grammar question? Leave it in the comments below!

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