Reflexive Pronoun

Reflexive Pronoun: A reflexive pronoun is all about the coordination of a subject and object which refers back to the subject of a sentence. Reflexive pronouns are generally used in a sentence when the subject and object are the same. Do you know about the Subject and Object of a sentence? A subject is the doer of the action in any sentence, while the object is the receiver or on which the subject performs its action. For example, 

She chooses this for herself. 

I will cook by myself.  

You might have come across these words like herself, myself, themselves, itself, yourself, etc. These all are reflexive pronouns. In this article, we will learn about these reflexive pronouns in more detail, with examples, and their usages in a sentence.

Definition of Reflexive Pronoun

In English Grammar, a reflexive pronoun is defined as a type of pronoun that reflects back to the subject and is used as an object that refers to the same person or thing as the subject. Reflexive pronouns are the words that generally end with ‘-self’ or ‘-selves’. A reflexive pronoun indicates that the person or thing on which the action of the verb is performed is also the receiver of the action.

In English Grammar, there are nine reflexive pronouns, which are as follows: myself, yourself, yourselves, ourselves, himself, herself, themselves, itself, and oneself. 

Let's understand these pronouns with some examples,

  1. I love me. 
  2. Do you know how to take care of yourself? 
  3. Kamal knows how to take care of kamal.
  4. Look at these sentences, the subject is referring to itself as an object on which the action is performed. So, we use a reflexive pronoun instead of the object to make these sentences more meaningful.
  5. I love myself.
  6. Do you know how to take care of yourself?
  7. Kamal knows how to take care of himself.

Now, you will come to know how the subjects that were a little self-absorbed as an object replace the noun or the object with reflexive pronouns. A reflexive pronoun is a correspondence of personal pronouns.

Types of Reflexive Pronoun

All nine reflexive pronouns are categorized into two categories i.e Singular Reflexive Pronouns and Plural Reflexive Pronouns.

1. Singular Reflexive Pronouns: When a reflexive pronoun reflects back to a single person or thing or animal used as an object. Generally, a Singular Reflexive pronoun ends with ‘-self’.  

For example- Myself, Himself, Herself, Yourself, Itself, and Oneself.

2. Plural Reflexive Pronouns: When a reflexive pronoun reflects back to more than one person or thing or animal used as an object. A Plural Reflexive pronoun ends with ‘-selves’.  

For example- Yourselves, Ourselves, and Themselves.

Examples of Reflexive Pronoun
Types of Reflexive PronounReflexive PronounUsed With (Personal Pronoun)
Singular Reflexive PronounMyselfI
HimselfHim or Singular Male
HerselfHer or Singular Female
YourselfSingular form of You
ItselfIt
OneselfOne
Plural Reflexive PronounYourselvesPlural form of You
OurselvesWe
ThemselvesThey

Use of Reflexive Pronoun

1. As we know that reflexive pronouns serve as an object end either with -self or -selves and refer back to nouns or pronouns that act as a subject. So, a Reflexive pronoun is always used after the verb. 

For example,

  1. I bought myself a private jet.
  2. He knows himself better.
  3. She cooked herself in spite she was sick.

Have you noticed in these examples, the use of the reflexive pronoun like myself, himself, and herself just after the verbs like bought, knows, and cooked respectively?

2. A reflexive pronoun to show Independent actions performed by the subject by using the word “by” that indicates “alone’’ or “without any   help from others.” For example,

I prepared this project by myself.

He walked to the park by himself.

3. Reflexive pronouns are also used as the object of a preposition like, Raman and Aman had to cook for themselves. 
He was feeling very sad for himself.

4. To add emphasis to a noun or pronoun, a reflexive pronoun can also be used. These types of reflexive pronouns are then known as intensive pronouns. In this case, the sentence can also make sense if the pronoun is removed from the sentence. For example,

Jack wrote all the poetries by himself. This can also be written as Jack wrote all the Poetries. The reflexive pronoun himself here is referred to as an Intensive pronoun. Kamla herself reached out to me. Again herself acts as an intensive pronoun in this sentence as it can also be written without using reflexive pronouns and still it makes sense i.e Kamla reached out to me.

Reflexive pronoun for Gender Neutral

Have you heard about gender-neutral pronouns, it is a pronoun that does not represent the gender of the individual who is being discussed in the sentence or when it represents something whose gender is not clearly indicated in the sentence. As we talk about the reflexive pronoun like herself or himself, they refer to a specific gender either a male or female. But, we have some reflexive pronouns that can be used as gender-neutral pronouns like themselves or themself. These pronouns can be used when we do not want to specify the gender of the subject or when the subject is a mix or group of many different genders. For example, 

All students are directed to do their work by themselves.

The children crossed the road by themselves.

Example of Reflexive Pronoun used in sentence

  1. I ate my dinner by myself.
  2. Sam painted a picture of himself and his friends.
  3. They introduced themselves to guests.
  4. She went home by herself.
  5. I went to the movie by myself.
  6. Ravi bought a car by himself.
  7. The teacher told me to do my homework by myself.
  8. Jenny was in a hurry, so she washed her car by herself.
  9. You should brush your teeth daily by yourself.
  10. They are preparing themselves for the exam.
  11. Rohan and Sohan were celebrating their victory by themselves.
  12. We will have to decorate our house by ourselves.
  13. Computers can solve problems by themselves.
  14. Car can be driven by itself.
  15. To work one must have time to oneself.
  16. One can't enjoy oneself if one is too tired.

Also Read

Parts of Speech
PronounPersonal Pronoun
Possessive PronounRelative Pronoun
NounAdjective
AdverbPreposition
VerbConjunction
Reflexive Pronoun: FAQs

Ans: A reflexive pronoun is defined as a type of pronoun that reflects back to the subject and is used as an object that refers to the same person or thing as the subject.

Here is the example of reflexive pronouns: Myself, Himself, Herself, Yourself, Itself, Oneself, Yourselves, Ourselves, Themselves

Ans: Reflexive pronouns are generally used in the sentence when the subject and object are the same with the purpose to indicate that the person or thing on which the action of the verb is performed is also the receiver of the action. For example, Myself, Himself, Herself, Yourself, Itself, Oneself, Yourselves, Ourselves, Themselves

Ans: When a reflexive pronoun reflects back to a single person or thing or animal used as an object. Generally, a Singular Reflexive pronoun ends with ‘-self’. For example, Myself, Himself, Herself, Yourself, Itself, and Oneself.

Ans: When a reflexive pronoun reflects back to more than one person or thing or animal used as an object. A Plural Reflexive pronoun ends with ‘-selves’. For example, Yourselves, Ourselves, and Themselves.

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