'Myself' and Other Reflexive Pronouns

“Myself” can be a pretty controversial pronoun.

Take the following example: “Cindy and myself will give the presentation.”

Word to the word-cautious: People hate that. Even less-awkwardly-worded variations evoke ire: “The presentation will be given by Cindy and myself.”

In sentences that use “or,” the “myself” sounds better. “The presentation will be given by Cindy or myself.” But, really, this poses the same problem: Technically, reflexive pronouns like “myself” don’t work this way.

As idioms, all these ways of using “myself” are fine. No one can say you’re wrong if you construct sentences like these. But if you want to hew as close as possible to the rules of syntax, use reflexive pronouns only for their designated job: referring back to the subject, as in “I taught myself” or “I rewarded myself” or “I sent myself an email.”

Here's my recent column offering a basic overview of reflexive pronouns.


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