Itself

'Itself' is a reflexive pronoun that refers to 'it.' In this part, we will go through its uses and grammatical rules in English grammar.

How to Use "Itself" in the English Grammar

Itself is a word most commonly used as a reflexive pronoun. In this lesson, we will discuss other functions of 'itself.'

Functions of 'Itself'

1. 'Itself' as a Reflexive Pronoun

Itself as a reflexive pronoun is used when the subject and the object both refer to the third-person neutral subject 'it.' Itself can be the direct object, the indirect object, or the object of a preposition. Itself as a reflexive pronoun can also be a subject complement.
Here are its functions and some examples:

1.1 'Itself' as a Direct Object

Use

Itself as a reflexive pronoun is used to receive the action of the verb, so it acts as a direct object. For example:

His cat licked itself.

Does a flower reproduce itself?

'Itself' is the direct object of the sentence.

Position in a Sentence

Itself as a direct object is placed after the verb. For example:

His cat licked itself.

1.2 'Itself' as an Indirect Object

Use

Itself as an indirect object is used to show who receives the direct object. For example:

The flower gives itself some nutrient.

The rabbit makes itself a nest.

'A nest' is the direct object and 'itself' is the indirect object and shows that 'the rabbit' is the recipient of 'a nest.'

Position in a Sentence

The indirect object is usually used before a direct object. For example:

The flower gives itself some nutrient.

The rabbit makes itself a nest.

'A nest' is the direct object and 'itself' the indirect object.

1.3 'Itself' as the Object of a Preposition

Use

Itself as the object of a preposition is introduced by a preposition. For example:

Is that chair moving all by itself?

The cat throws a ball to itself.

Position in a Sentence

Itself as the object of a preposition comes after a preposition. For example:

Is that chair moving all by itself?

1.4 'Itself' as a Subject Complement

Use

Itself can be a subject complement if it is used after the linking verbs. The subject complement completes the subject and the meaning of the sentence. For example:

The cat isn't feeling itself today.

The dog becomes itself again if it is treated well.

Position in a Sentence

Itself as a subject complement is used after the linking verbs. For example:

The cat isn't feeling itself today.

'Feel' is a linking verb.

2. 'Itself' as an Emphatic Pronoun

Use

Itself can also be used as an emphatic pronoun. Emphatic pronouns emphasize the doer of the action. Since its function is to emphasize the subject, it can be left out. For example:

The dog itself opened the door.

The dog opened the door itself.

Position in a Sentence

Itself as an emphatic pronoun comes either at the end of the sentence or after the subject. For example:

The dog itself opened the door.

The dog opened the door itself.

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