The Difference between 'Ours' and 'Ourselves'
What is the difference between 'ours' and 'ourselves'? 'He's a friend of ours,' or 'He's a friend of ourselves'. Which of these two sentences is correct?
Ours vs. Ourselves
What Might Cause the Confusion?
'Ours' and 'ourselves' are both first-person plural pronouns. But 'ours' is the possessive pronoun, and 'ourselves' is the reflexive pronoun. Therefore, they have different functions and cannot be used interchangeably.
When you use 'ours' you refer to something that belongs to both yourself and to one or more other people. It is called a possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns are used when we want to show who owns or is associated with a thing.
'Ours' is a possessive pronoun replacing the phrase 'our magazines' to avoid repetition.
'Ourselves' is the first-person plural reflexive pronoun. When you use 'ourselves' you refer to yourself and one or more other people as a group.
Here, 'ourselves' is the reflexive form of 'we' or 'us'.
Same Subject and Object
When the subject and object of the verb refer to the same group of people, we use 'ourselves' as the object of a verb or preposition.
Sometimes, we use 'ourselves' to emphasize the first-person plural subject.
Here, 'ourselves' is an intensifier, emphasizing the subject 'we'.
'Ourselves' instead of 'Us'
Sometimes, for emphasis, you can use 'ourselves' instead of 'us' as the object of a verb or preposition. It is considered more formal and somehow not used often in spoken English.
The more accurate and acceptable sentence would be 'He is a friend of us'.
We can use 'ourselves' after the linking verbs like 'be, seem, appear, etc. to mean our real or normal selves. In this way, 'our' acts as a determiner and 'selves' as a noun, so they can be separated by other words.
Though it is not considered standard English, we can use 'ourselves' instead of 'we' or 'us' in compound noun phrases.