Reflexive Pronouns for intermediate learners

Reflexive Pronouns are used to show that the subject and object of a sentence are exactly the same person or thing or there is a direct connection between them.

"Reflexive Pronouns" in English Grammar

What Are Reflexive Pronouns?

When the subject and the object of a sentence are the same, we use reflexive pronouns in order to avoid repetition. Below is a table of reflexive pronouns in English:

Singular Plural
First Myself Ourselves
Second Yourself Yourselves
Third Himself, Herself, Itself Themselves

Pay attention to the examples below:

She drowned herself in the river.

Here, the reflexive pronoun is used as the object.

I've started talking positively to myself.


Although in many cases, the second-person singular and plural pronouns are the same (You), in the case of reflexive pronouns they are different (Yourself/Yourselves). Remember to use the appropriate reflexive pronoun based on the number of the subject. For example:

Pay attention to these examples:

If you want to succeed, you have to believe in yourself.

You can make yourselves at home while I prepare dinner.


We can also use an object pronoun instead of a reflexive pronoun when referring to the first person singular pronoun, but it is not allowed for other pronouns. Look at the following example:

I saw me in the water. (Also, I saw myself in the water).

Not she saw her in the water.


We can use reflexive pronouns in many different contexts. However, their two main purposes are:

  • When the subject and the object of the sentence are the same
  • When a reflexive verb is used in the sentence

When the Subject and the Object Are the same

Sometimes the object and subject are the same in a sentence, in these cases, we can use reflexive pronouns to avoid repetition. Look at the following examples:

She took herself on a fancy ride last week.

I hurt myself when I was cooking yesterday.

As you can see, the subject is talking about himself/herself so a reflexive pronoun is used.

When We Have a Reflexive Verb

Some verbs in English take an object that is the same as their subject. They are called reflexive verbs. Look at the table to learn some common reflexive verbs in English:

Reflexive Verbs Their Meanings
Take oneself to go on a trip
Enjoy oneself to have a good time
Behave oneself to act appropriately
Help oneself to eat or drink
Hurt oneself to get injured (usually accidentally)

Take a look at some examples:

He took himself on a trip yesterday.

I tripped on the stairs and hurt myself


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