Peeve Alert: Reflexive Pronouns


Reflexive pronouns can get you in trouble with nitpickers. Example:

I'd like to thank everyone on behalf of Robert and myself.

Here, the reflexive pronoun myself is being used in place of a regular personal pronoun: me. That's not exactly the job reflexive pronouns were born to do.

The main job of reflexives is to suggest the subject of the verb is doing something to himself.

I talked myself out of it.

She cried herself to sleep. 

He gave himself a raise.

If you want to stay in the lanes of what's considered proper reflexive pronoun use, here's a simple trick: Never use a reflexive where a regular personal pronoun would do.

Thanks for visiting Barb and myself can be Thanks for visiting Barb and me. John and myself will plan the party can be John and I will plan the party.

Language is flexible enough that you can sometimes get away with using reflexives as personal pronouns. But in formal situations, or anytime you're worried you're being judged, don't.