Themselves

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

How to Use "Themselves" in the English Grammar

Themselves is a word most commonly used as a reflexive pronoun. In this lesson, we will discuss its uses.

Functions of 'Themselves'

1. 'Themselves' as a Reflexive Pronoun

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

1.1 'Themselves' as a Direct Object

Use

Themselves as a direct object receives the action of the verb. For example:

They call themselves the guardians.

'Themselves' is the direct object.

Annie and Rose loved themselves.

Position in a Sentence

Themselves as a direct object is positioned after the verb. For example:

They love themselves.

'Themselves' is after 'love.'

1.2 'Themselves' as an Indirect Object

Use

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

They gave themselves some rest.

'Some rest' is the direct object and 'themselves' is the indirect object.

Rose and Annie bought themselves a house.

'Themselves' is the indirect object.

Position in a Sentence

Themselves as the indirect object is usually used before a direct object. For example:

They gave themselves some rest.

'Themselves' is used before the direct object 'some rest.'

1.3 'Themselves' as the Object of a Preposition

Use

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

We can't let them deal with the issue all by themselves.

'By' is a preposition.

They gave some homework to themselves.

Position in a Sentence

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

We can't let them deal with the issue all by themselves.

They gave some homework to themselves.

1.4 'Themselves' as a Subject Complement

Use

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

They don't feel like themselves.

'Feel' is a linking verb.

If they become themselves again, they will succeed.

'Become' is a linking verb.

Position in a Sentence

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

They don't feel like themselves.

'Feel' as a linking verb precedes 'themselves.'

2. 'Themselves' as an Emphatic Pronoun

Use

Themselves as an emphatic pronoun emphasizes the doer of the action and can be omitted without any changes to the meaning of the sentence. For example:

The twins themselves made the map.

'Themselves' put an emphasis on 'they.'

The pack of wolves found food themselves.

Position in a Sentence

Themselves as an emphatic pronoun is positioned either at the end of the sentence or after the subject. For example:

The twins themselves made the map.

'Themselves' is after the subject pronoun.

The pack of wolves found food themselves.

'Themselves' is at the end of the sentence.

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