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Reflexive pronouns

What are reflexive pronouns? When a subject and an object of the sentence are the same thing, it's time to use a reflexive pronoun, as in "I saw myself in the mirror". The subject is "I", and the object is "me", but it's not grammatical in Standard English to say "I saw me in the mirror". Instead, you'd say "myself".

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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user CeciG04
    So is yall or yins improper grammar?
    (6 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Polina Vitić
      Not necessarily. Y'all, for instance, follows the rules of grammar where the apostrophe is used to shorten "you all" to y'all.

      Yins (or yinz) means the same as y'all - they are both second person plural pronouns. In "standard" English, the pronoun you is used for both singular and plural second person pronouns.

      Even though y'all and yins are not considered standard English - you may want to avoid using them in formal settings - some scholars have argued that words like these are useful because they are needed to show the difference between speaking to a group ("y'all") or just one person ("you").

      Hope this helps!
      (13 votes)
  • leafers sapling style avatar for user Levi Bocook
    "Janelle is herself" that is deep
    (7 votes)
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  • female robot grace style avatar for user Robin
    What's going on when people say, "The queen herself appeared in person to congratulate the boy"? Also does it need commas?
    (2 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Joel C.
    At around , David writes:
    "Janelle made herself breakfast"

    He describes reflexive pronouns as the object and subject being the same thing. What I don't get is why "breakfast" is not the object here. Is Janelle doing the action of "making" on herself?
    (4 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Daniel Impraim
    Is I a reflexive pronoun?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Chris Human
    Hi, can I say: "Janelle made her/his breakfast"? instead of "Janelle made herself breakfast" ?
    (2 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      For whom did Janelle make breakfast? For her mother, for the truck driver who came into the cafe, for her teacher? If Janelle made breakfast for Janelle, then the word you want is "herself." If Janelle made breakfast for someone else, then choose "her" or "his" or "their" depending on who that person was.
      (2 votes)
  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Lucas De Oliveira
    I believe that the reflexive pronouns reflect how the people see themselves in some manner. Assuming that it is modifying itself... How were the reflexive pronouns in the ancient English and how the differences - comparing with the modern english- can show us the change about how we look at ourselves?
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine tree style avatar for user ShreeV
    My teacher says that you can't start a sentence with a pronoun ,but can you really start a sentence with a pronoun?
    (1 vote)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Sharna Connolly
    Is it worth learning this if I am not wanting to become a grammarian in the future? Is this actually relevant in everyday speech, or does it come up in tests? Or is this mostly about just knowing the names for the types of words we say, purely for the knowledge? Hope that makes sense. Whatever the answer I'm still going to continue watching this series :)
    (1 vote)
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  • aqualine sapling style avatar for user Lakshyathehuskyboy
    In the sentence, “Helen planted herself a peace lily”, would “herself” be counted as an reflexive pronoun? Thanks!
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello, grammarians. Let's talk about reflexive pronouns and just as a word of warning, this means I'm going to be talking about myself a lot. What I mean is that, in English, we have this distinction between the personal pronoun, so for example, me, and its reflexive pronoun, which is myself. And we use these pronouns in very specific cases. So I'm gonna show you what all of those reflexive pronouns look like contrasted with their personal pronoun forms and then we're going to talk about how we use them. So in the first person we say the personal pronoun is me, the reflexive pronoun is myself. The first person plural personal pronoun is us and the reflexive form of that is ourselves. Then in the second person, both plural and singular personal pronoun is you and then, in the reflexive it can be either yourself when you're addressing one person or yourselves when the "you" you are talking to consists of more than one person. The singular third person pronouns look like this it, her, and him and their reflective versions are as follows... itself, herself, and himself. Finally, the personal pronoun them becomes the reflexive pronoun, themselves. Now, all of these are what we would call object pronouns. They can all be the object of a verb. So they're never the do-ers, they're always the do-ees. With the exception of you or it, none of these pronouns can be the subject of a sentence. In Standard American English, it is not grammatical to say "Me eat a cookie" for example. It's part of why Cookie Monster sounds so funny. So then the question becomes, when do you use these? So the place for these object pronouns to go is in the back end of a sentence. what we call the predicate, where the object of the verb lives. So, for example, "She poked me." She is the subject of the sentence and me is the object, is the object of the verb poked. It is the do-ee, it is the thing that something is done to not the do-er. So that's when you'd use object pronouns, generally. But, when do you use reflexive pronouns? You use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same thing. Let me show you an example sentence. Janelle made herself breakfast. So in this sentence, herself and Janelle are the same person as opposed to the other possibility which is Janelle making breakfast for someone else. Janelle made us breakfast, and in this case, this usage is not reflective. She's not doing a thing for herself or to herself. She's making breakfast for other people. And so, you'd just use the regular personal object pronoun there. You can only use the reflexive pronoun when the subject and the object of the sentence are the same thing. Janelle is the same thing as herself. Janelle is not the same thing as us, so we would say us here and not ourselves. How about this one? Roderick saw me in the mirror. Now I am not named Roderick. I am not the same thing as Roderick, and if I were writing a sentence about myself, I would say, I saw myself in the mirror. Roderick and I, me, are not the same person. I and myself are the same person. The same person as Roderick is Roderick. So if we were to say, Roderick saw Roderick in the mirror, we would render that as, Roderick saw himself because the subject here and the object here are the same thing. So remember, you use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same thing. It's really easy to get tripped up this way, especially if there's a compound object in the sentence. For example, you can talk to Vidya or myself. I see this all the time, and in Standard American English this is not correct because you is not the same thing as me. And it's easy to get confused because you're talking about two people here in this object and that's a little befuddling. It kind of throws you off. And so there's a test you can do. If you're unsure of whether or not it should be Vidya or myself or Vidya or me, which is what I would say, how do you tell? Take the other person out of the object, just for a little bit. So would you say, you can talk to myself or would you say, you can talk to me? Well, since we know you is not the same thing as myself, and you can only use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object are the same thing, the answer is me. So then, we bring Vidya back, we bring the other part of the object back, and it becomes, you can talk to Vidya or me. So when in doubt, sub it out. Take the other part of the object and just pretend it's not there and just think about how the subject and the object connect. Chances are, you won't actually end up using a reflexive pronoun. Perform that little check and you'll never go wrong. You can learn anything. David out.