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Emphatic pronouns

Sometimes we use reflexive pronouns like "myself" and "ourselves" for emphasis in a sentence, like, "If you won't help me, then I'll do it myself!" KA's Grammar Fellow, David, explains this usage.

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  • male robot johnny style avatar for user Braydin
    is what a noun or a verb
    (7 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user SebastianC
    What if I say," I made dinner myself" is that correct?
    (4 votes)
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  • leaf grey style avatar for user Camila Pacheco
    "You yourself should know better than to wait until the last minute to write an essay"
    How does this sentence make sense?
    (0 votes)
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    • blobby blue style avatar for user Isabella Mathews
      I don't see anything grammatically wrong with it (I might be completely wrong since English isn't my native language), but it makes sense because the "yourself" is an emphatic pronoun and it puts more emphasis to the subject, i.e., "you". It just gives an extra "punch" to the subject. Maybe the "you" has had a former bad experience of waiting till the last minute to write an essay, so the speaker is kind of, you know, putting stress on that experience and saying that "you should know it, because you have done it before and you know what happens". It's neat because all these things are fit into this one word "yourself". It just made the sentence so concise.

      This is just what I thought. Sorry for the long answer but I hope that helps. And if I'm mistaken, feel free to correct me. :)
      (13 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Thato
    why is this relevant for my future or studies.
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      You ask, "why?", so I'll offer a response. It is relevant because you may well, in your future and/or in your studies, encounter writing that includes the use of emphatic pronouns, and knowing them, you'll be better able to ascertain the writer's intent, and less liable to misunderstand same. You don't have to USE this, but you need, for your future, for your studies, and for your future studies, to understand it when you see it.
      (6 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Ice Breaker Unnie 209🐺🧊
    Is it like every word with "self" is an emphasis?
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      No, that's not how it is.
      The pronouns myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves and themselves are not, at their base, emphatic pronouns. BUT one of the uses of these very same words is as emphatic pronouns.

      Compare:
      (Emphatic use). She, herself, received the prize.

      (non-emphatic use) She gave herself a pat on the back.
      (6 votes)
  • hopper cool style avatar for user owenkat
    I still don't understand emphatic pronouns. For example, I found myself dancing around. Would it be needed or not needed? I think it would be not need but I am not sure of myself though.
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      Perhaps you need to differentiate "emphatic" from "reflexive" pronouns, which is found in their function (rather than their spelling).

      Here's an example:

      I touched myself. ("Myself" is a reflexive pronoun.)

      I, myself, touched the live wire. ("Myself" is an emphatic pronoun.)

      You hate yourself. ("yourself" is a reflexive pronoun.)
      You, yourself, hate lima beans. (yourself is an emphatic pronoun.)
      (4 votes)
  • duskpin tree style avatar for user Nicholas
    Would saying "I myself will do it," or "I myself heard it," or "The princess will run the marathon herself," be correct?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Roche Magsino
    Would the word "do" count as an emphatic pronoun? For example, "I do watch the videos you sent me!"
    Like, isn't the word "do" kind of giving emphasis to the sentence?
    (4 votes)
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  • starky tree style avatar for user 穿著火雞套裝的狐狸
    Wouldn't it make more sense if you say, "Ronaldo cut himself while shaving"?
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      This depends on the nature of what you wish to express. Let's try both and compare them.
      1) "Ronaldo cut himself when shaving." The time element here is not all that clear, or is, perhaps, all too clear. "When" can be an every day occurence. It could have happened any time in the past, such as: "Ronaldo is now 85 years old. As a teenager, Ronaldo cut himself when shaving."

      2) "Ronaldo cut himself while shaving." This indicates that one thing (cutting) happened during another thing (shaving). "Ronaldo did many things this morning. He rose from bed. He ate breakfast. He showered and shaved. He kissed his wife. Ronaldo cut himself while shaving." (Not while rising, eating, showering or kissing.)
      (4 votes)
  • leafers tree style avatar for user Leafers
    Hello everyone I'm new-ish to khan Academy but anyway Hi!
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Alright, grammarians. So we know that there's one way to use this thing we call reflexive pronouns and that's to say you're doing something to yourself, as in the sentence I made myself breakfast. Right, I'm making myself breakfast. Or in the sentence Ronaldo cut himself shaving. Sorry about the capital S there, that is a mistake. So Ronaldo and himself and I and myself. We use, these are called reflexive pronouns and we use them when the subject and the object of a sentence is the same thing, right, but there's another way to use these reflexive pronouns and it's called emphatic usage. So I want you to imagine me storming off in a huff or getting really excited as I say the following: Well, if you won't help me, I'll do it myself! Or, he's lying, I heard it myself. Or, the princess herself is running the charity marathon. And what this is is what we call emphatic or intensive because we use it to intensify a statement or to grant it emphasis, right? This is how it works. So instead of just saying... and the difference, the key difference, between reflexive and intensive or emphatic usage of this kind of pronoun is you could take these right out of a sentence and it would still make sense. I'll do it, I heard it, the princess will run the marathon. Right, we're using them as intensifiers which really means they can come right out. They're not essential to the understanding of the sentence, you're just using these words in order to hammer home a point. You know, if someone else isn't helping you you say I'll do it, but you wanna really hammer home the fact that you're going to be doing it alone so you say I'll do it myself. And if you wanna emphasize that you were there and you heard something happen you would say I heard it myself. And if it's really crazy that the princess is running this marathon then you would say whoa, the princess herself will be there, and that's nuts. And that's the intensive or emphatic pronoun. That's how you use it. You can learn anything. David out.