use a reflexive pronoun in a sentence to refer back to a subject that
has already been identified.
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back to itself
pronouns show that the action affects the person who performs the
They end in "-self" (singular) or "-selves"
The reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, himself,
herself, itself, ourselves, themselves.
A reflexive pronoun is used when the object
a sentence is the same
as the subject
Reflexive pronouns act as the object of the sentence by
receiving the action.
She hugs herself
A subject in a sentence is the noun that is performing the action.
In this sentence dog
is the subject
The object of a sentence receives the action.
- The dog played with the ball.
In this sentence, the ball
is the object because it is receiving the
Reflexive pronouns always
act as the objects, not subjects.
- The vase fell off the shelf by itself.
The subject of this sentence is the vase. The
object of this sentence
is also the vase (itself).
- Sally talks to herself.
the subject of this sentence. Sally is also the object of this
- Incorrect: Lisa
are going to the park.
In this sentence, Lisa
are the subjects. Reflexive pronouns
cannot be subjects.
- Correct: I
a piece of pie.
In this sentence I is
the subject and myself is the object.
reflexive pronoun is correctly used as an object in this sentence.
How to use a reflexive pronoun
1. Use a reflexive pronoun when the subject and object are
She exhausted herself
- He tripped himself.
- The cat cleaned itself.
- Nick bought himself some popcorn.
- We tried to fix it ourselves.
2. Use a reflexive pronoun as the object
of a preposition when the
subject and object are the same.
He thought to himself
is a word that is used before a noun to show its
connection to another word in the sentence. Here are a few common
- She is talking to herself.
- He will go to the party by himself.
- The boy finished it by himself.
- We bought gifts for ourselves.
3. Use a reflexive pronoun to emphasize, or stress, the
subject of a
He drove the tractor himself
- He will do it himself. (He does not need any help.)
- They painted the house themselves. (No one else helped
- The cat hurt itself. (No one else hurt the cat.)
- My son read the book himself. (My son did not need help to
More examples of reflexive pronouns
students completed the work by himself and herself.
students completed the work by themselves.
want to go by themselves.
want to go by ourselves.
and himself are cleaning the garage.
is cleaning the garage by himself.
These were the uses of the Reflexive Pronoun. Now that you know them,
time to practice! Read and do