In last week’s post, I explained when to use the pronouns “I” vs. “me.” Today, I’d like to discuss when to use the pronoun “myself,” which I’ve been hearing used incorrectly quite a bit.
Following are some common examples of how I hear “myself” used incorrectly:
WHAT THEY SAY:
- He met with George and myself (INCORRECT)
- George, Harry and myself went to the movies (INCORRECT)
- You can give the form to Susan or myself (INCORRECT)
WHAT THEY SHOULD SAY:
- He met with George and me (CORRECT)
- George, Harry and I went to the movies (CORRECT)
- You can give the form to Susan or me (CORRECT)
The only time you should use “myself” is in the reflexive sense, which means you’re both the subject and the object of a sentence or are referring to yourself. For example:
- I gave myself a pat on the back
- I went on vacation by myself
- I knew that if I wanted it done right, I had to do it myself
- I took a picture of myself
- I introduced myself to the group
The same goes for “yourself,” “herself,” “themselves,” etc.
My belief is that people use “myself” incorrectly because they think it sounds fancy, and they associate fancy with correct. But don’t be fooled! I know this is tricky stuff; just try to remember that “myself” is NOT a substitute for “I.” If you stick to that and keep it simple, you will get it right…all by yourself.
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