Ourselves

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

How to Use "Ourselves" in the English Grammar

Ourselves is known to be a reflexive pronoun but it is an emphatic pronoun too. We will cover them in this lesson.

Functions of 'Ourselves'

1. 'Ourselves' as a Reflexive Pronoun

Ourselves as a reflexive pronoun is used when the subject and the object both refer to the first-person plural subject 'we.' Ourselves can be the direct object, the indirect object, or the object of a preposition. Ourselves is also a subject complement.
Here are its uses and some examples:

1.1 'Ourselves' as a Direct Object

Use

Ourselves as a direct object is used to receive the action of the verb. For example:

We need to get ready to defend ourselves.

'Ourselves' is used to show 'we' receives the action of 'defend.'

It is enough to rest ourselves.

Position in a Sentence

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

We need to get ready to defend ourselves.

'Ourselves' is after 'defend.'

It is enough to rest ourselves.

1.2 'Ourselves' as an Indirect Object

Use

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

We taught ourselves Spanish.

'Spanish' is a direct object and 'ourselves' as an indirect object shows 'we' is the recipient of 'Spanish.'

My mother and I wrote ourselves letters.

Position in a Sentence

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

It is good to buy ourselves some gifts.

'Ourselves' is the indirect object and comes before the direct object 'some gifts.'

1.3 'Ourselves' as the Object of a Preposition

Use

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

We were happy that we had the bar all to ourselves.

'To' is a preposition and introduces the object of a preposition.

We need to save the earth from ourselves.

Position in a Sentence

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

We need to save the earth from ourselves.

'Ourselves' is after the preposition 'from.'

1.4 'Ourselves' as a Subject Complement

Use

Ourselves can be a subject complement if it is used after the linking verbs. For example:

If we become ourselves again, we can get back to work.

'Become' is a linking verb.

Therapy will help. We don't seem like ourselves.

Position in a Sentence

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

Therapy will help. We don't seem like ourselves.

'Ourselves' is a subject complement because it is used after 'seem.'

If we become ourselves again, we can get back to work.

2. 'Ourselves' as an Emphatic Pronoun

Use

Ourselves as an emphatic pronoun emphasizes the doer of the action. For example:

We ourselves can handle these tasks.

'Ourselves' emphasizes 'we.'

He insisted that we need to be there ourselves.

Position in a Sentence

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

He insisted that we need to be there ourselves.

'Ourselves' is at the end of the sentence.

We ourselves can handle these tasks.

'Ourselves' is after the subject.

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