Save Yourself from this Embarrassing Pronoun Error

Myself is not a formal substitute for or Me. Reflexive pronouns (also including yourself, himself, herself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves) apply when a subject acts on an object which is—itself! You may shave yourself, nourish yourself, love or hate yourself, awaken yourself, remind yourself, kill yourself (please get help for yourself instead!), inspire yourself, blame yourself, motivate yourself. Myself is also an intensive pronoun, used for emphasis, as in “I baked it myself” or “I myself prefer eating out.”

Myself is most commonly used incorrectly as the subject (where someone attempts to sound more formal) or as part of a multiple object (where someone is not sure which to use). Let’s clarify.

Want to sound formal?

  • Incorrect: Myself gave a speech
  • Correct: I gave a speech.
  • Correct, emphatic, possibly redundant: I myself gave that speech. 
  • Correct: I gave myself a speech—meaning I was talking to myself.

Wondering which pronoun to use?

  • Incorrect: Please email the director and myself.
  • Correct: Please email the director and me. 
  • Incorrect: You and myself will email the director.
  • Correct: You and I will email the director.

In English, your personal pronoun goes last. To know which to choose, simply remove the other person or people. You would say, “Please email me” or “I will email.” If you add a list there, your personal pronoun remains the same.

Ready to do it yourself? Do you have a related question? 

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