Emphatic Pronouns

'Emphatic pronouns' are used to refer to a noun or a pronoun mentioned earlier. So they give more detailed information.

"Emphatic Pronouns" in the English Grammar

What Are Emphatic Pronouns?

Emphatic pronouns, also known as intensive pronouns, share the same form as reflexive pronouns, but they are used differently. Rather than serving as an object, they function similarly to adverbs in emphasizing the action of the verb.

English Emphatic Pronouns

Emphatic pronouns
first-person singular myself
second-person singular yourself
third-person singular (F) herself
third-person singular (M) himself
third-person singular (N) itself
first-person plural ourselves
second-person plural yourselves
third-person plural themselves

Differences between Emphatic and Reflexive Pronouns

1. Reflexive pronouns indicate that the action of the subject reflects back to the doer, while emphatic pronouns simply emphasize the doer of the action without indicating any reflexive relationship.

Mike cut himself while shaving this morning. (Reflexive)

Here, the subject (Mike) and object (himself) refer to the same person.

Mike himself cut the carrots into thin strips. (Emphatic)

Here, the emphatic pronoun 'himself' just emphasizes the subject 'Mike'.

Using the Emphatic Pronoun 'Himself' in a Sentence

2. An emphatic pronoun can be removed from a sentence without compromising its meaning, whereas a reflexive pronoun cannot. If a reflexive pronoun is omitted, the sentence will be incomplete and may not make sense.

Mike cut while shaving this morning.

Without the reflexive pronoun 'himself', the sentence would not make sense.

Mike cut the carrots into thin strips.

Without the emphatic pronoun 'himself', the sentence still makes perfect sense.

How to Use Them?

Emphatic pronouns are typically placed after the pronoun or noun they are emphasizing. They do not function as the subject or the object of a verb.

Sarah called the principal herself.

Here, the emphatic pronoun 'herself' puts emphasis that 'Sarah' made the call.

Prince William himself attended the ball.

In this example, 'Prince William' is the emphasized noun. We call it the antecedent of the emphatic pronoun.


Now that you followed our article you know that reflexive pronouns are the same as emphatic pronouns, but they are used in different situations.

reflexive pronouns intensive pronouns
they need reflexive verbs they do not need reflexive verbs
they are essential to complete the meanings they are not essential to have a meaningful sentence
they reflect back the action upon the subject they emphasize on the subject
they are used after the verb They are not used after the verb


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