mercredi 26 novembre 2014

Top Tips Grammar: Reflexive pronouns

Main points

+Indefinite pronouns refer to people or things without saying exactly who or what they are.
+When an indefinite pronoun is the subject, it always takes a singular verb.
+You often use a plural pronoun to refer back to an indefinite pronoun.

 

a) The indefinite pronouns are:

singular : myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself
plural : ourselves, yourselves, themselves

Note that, unlike ‘you’ and ‘your’, there are two forms for the second person: ‘yourself’ in the singular and ‘yourselves’ in the plural.

 

b) You use reflexive pronouns as the direct or indirect object of the verb when you want to say that the object is the same person or thing as the subject of the verb in the same clause.

For example, ‘Ron taught himself’ means that Ron did the teaching and was also the person who was taught, and ‘Ann poured herself a drink’ means that Ann did the pouring and was also the person that the drink was poured for.

- She stretched herself out on the sofa.
- The men formed themselves into a line.
- He should give himself more time.

Note that although the subject ‘you’ is omitted in imperatives, you can still use ‘yourself’ or ‘yourselves’.

- Here’s the money, go and buy yourself an ice cream.

 

c) Most transitive verbs can take a reflexive pronoun.

- I blame myself for not paying attention.
- He introduced himself to me.

Remember that verbs which describe actions that people normally do to themselves do not take reflexive pronouns in English, although they do in some other languages.

- I usually shave before breakfast.
- She washed very quickly and rushed downstairs.

 

d) You use a reflexive pronoun as the object of a preposition when the object of the preposition refers to the same person or thing as the subject of the verb in the same clause.

- I was thoroughly ashamed of myself.
- They are making fools of themselves.
- Tell me about yourself.

Note that you use personal pronouns, not reflexive pronouns, when referring to places and after ‘with’ meaning ‘accompanied by’.

- You should have your notes in front of you.
- He would have to bring Sam with him.

 

e) You use a reflexive pronoun after nouns or pronouns to emphasize that someone did something without any help from anyone else.

- She had printed the card herself.
- I’ll take it down to the police station myself.
- Did you make these yourself?

 

f) You use reflexive pronouns with ‘by’ to say:

*that someone does something without any help from other people

- ...when babies start eating their meals by themselves.
- She was certain she could manage by herself.

*that someone is alone

- He went off to sit by himself.
- I was there for about six months by myself.

You can also use ‘on my own’, ‘on your own’, and so on, to say that someone is alone or does something without any help.

- We were in the park on our own.
- They managed to reach the village on their own.

You can use ‘all’ for emphasis.

- Did you put those shelves up all by yourself?
- We can’t solve his problem all on our own.

Remember that ‘one another’ and ‘each other’ are not reflexive pronouns.

 

 

 

 

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Top Tips Abz Ingles: Part A    -    Part B
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See also:

Words related to Failure to Cooperate Irregular Verbs list
Common Phrasal Verbs Common Slangs
Common misspellings Regular vs Irregular Verbs
Common Errors Frequently confused words
Common Slangs Lista de Términos Gramaticales
Common Clichés Common Prepositions

 

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