Understanding The Basics Of Reflexive Pronouns

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Reflexive pronouns are words that indicate a noun or pronoun is referring back to itself. Reflexive pronouns can be used in many different ways, such as for emphasis, to add clarity to a sentence, and even to create reflexive common mistakes. In this article we’ll cover the basics of reflexive pronouns and more.

Reflexive pronouns

Definition of Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are a type of pronoun that are used to refer back to the subject of a sentence. They are formed by adding “-self” or “-selves” to the end of the pronoun. For example, “myself,” “yourself,” “ourselves,” and “themselves” are all reflexive pronouns. These pronouns serve an important role in English grammar, indicating that the person or thing performing the action in the sentence is also receiving the action.

Without the use of reflexive pronouns, sentences can become confusing or ambiguous. It is important to understand when and how to use reflexive pronouns correctly to ensure clear communication.

Examples of Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns serve as a vital part of the English language. They refer back to a subject in the sentence and act as direct or indirect objects. The most commonly used reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. These pronouns are used to emphasis and clarify that the subject is acting upon themselves.

For example, “I hurt myself while playing basketball” or “She talked to herself in the mirror.” Reflexive pronouns can be tricky to master, but they add precision to language and are essential in conveying clear communication.

Uses of Reflexive Pronouns in Sentences

Reflexive pronouns play an essential role in the English language. They are commonly used to refer to the subject of a sentence when that subject is also the object of the verb.

For example, “She cut herself while preparing dinner.” In this sentence, “herself” is a reflexive pronoun that refers back to “she.” Reflexive pronouns can also be used to emphasize or intensify a noun or pronoun.

For instance, “I myself saw the accident” places emphasis on the speaker as the one who witnessed the event. Moreover, they can show reciprocity, such as “The two friends hugged each other tightly.” As such, reflexive pronouns are a valuable tool for expressing oneself accurately and with precision in both spoken and written English.

How to Identify a Reflexive Pronoun in a Sentence

When it comes to identifying reflexive pronouns in a sentence, it’s important to understand what they are and how they function. Reflexive pronouns are a type of pronoun that refers back to the subject of the sentence. They are used when the subject and object of the sentence are the same person or thing.

To identify a reflexive pronoun, look for words like “myself,” “yourself,” “himself,” “herself,” “itself,” “ourselves,” “yourselves,” and “themselves.” These pronouns always end in “-self” or “-selves” and cannot be used in any other way in a sentence. So next time you come across one of these tricky pronouns, you’ll know exactly how to identify it!

Rules for Using Reflexive Pronouns Correctly

Reflexive pronouns can often be a tricky concept to master in the English language. These pronouns, such as “myself” and “themselves,” are used to refer back to the subject of the sentence. However, it’s important to remember that they should only be used when the subject is doing the action to themselves, not when someone else is doing something to them.

To avoid confusion, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the proper usage rules for reflexive pronouns. By doing so, you can communicate clearly and effectively in both written and spoken English.

Common Mistakes with Using the Wrong Form of a Reflexive pronoun

Using reflexive pronouns can be tricky, particularly when it comes to choosing the correct form. It’s an all-too-common mistake to use a standard personal pronoun instead of a reflexive pronoun, or to use a reflexive pronoun erroneously. Reflexive pronouns always end in “-self” or “-selves” and reflect the action back on the subject of the sentence.

For example, “I hurt myself” or “They enjoyed themselves.” It’s important to be aware of the usage rules so as not to cause confusion or misunderstandings in your writing or speech. With practice, you’ll learn to avoid these common reflexive pronoun mistakes and use them with ease.

When Not to Use a Reflexive Pronoun

Reflexive pronouns are a crucial part of the English language, but they are not always necessary. In general, we tend to use reflexive pronouns to reflect on the subject of the sentence. However, in certain cases, using a reflexive pronoun can be grammatically incorrect or just sound awkward. For example, using a reflexive pronoun after certain verbs, like “talk,” “speak,” or “introduce,” is incorrect. It’s also important to avoid using reflexive pronouns when they don’t accurately reflect the subject of the sentence.

Instead, try using a regular pronoun or simply rephrase the sentence to avoid using any pronouns at all. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and accurate.

Forms Used for Different Persons when using reflexives

When using reflexive pronouns, it is important to use the correct form depending on the person being referred to. These forms are used to reflect the subject of the sentence, indicating that the action is being performed by the subject on themselves. For example, the reflexive pronoun “myself” is used when referring to the first person singular (I), while “yourself” is used for the second person singular (you).

Himself,” “herself,” and “itself” are used for the third person singular (he, she, it), while “ourselves,” “yourselves,” and “themselves” are used for the first, second, and third person plural, respectively. Choosing the correct reflexive form adds clarity and precision to your writing and communication.

Gender Specific Forms when using reflexives

When using reflexive pronouns in the English language, it is important to understand the gender-specific forms. While there are only two gender pronouns in English, there are multiple ways to use reflexives depending on the gender of the subject. For instance, when referring to a male subject, the reflexive pronoun used is “himself”, while for a female subject it is “herself”.

It is essential to use the correct gender pronoun in order to communicate effectively and clearly. Understanding gender-specific forms when using reflexives can help you improve your communication skills and avoid any potential misunderstandings.

Plural forms used when using reflexives

When it comes to using reflexive pronouns in plural sentences, things can get a little tricky. It’s important to remember that the reflexive pronoun must match the subject in both number and gender. For example, if the subject is plural and masculine, the reflexive pronoun will be “se” in Spanish, or “themselves” in English. However, if the subject is plural and feminine, the reflexive pronoun will be “se” as well.

It’s helpful to keep a chart or guide handy when dealing with plural reflexives, as there are many exceptions and irregularities to watch out for. With a little practice, navigating these tricky grammar rules will become second nature.

Singular forms used when using reflexives

When using reflexives in a sentence, it is important to use the correct singular forms of pronouns. This means that you should use “myself” instead of “meself” or “yourself” instead of “yourselves”. Using the correct singular form not only ensures clarity in your communication, but it also shows that you are knowledgeable about grammar and language usage.

By understanding the correct usage of singular self-reflective pronouns, you can present yourself as a skilled communicator and impress your audience with your attention to detail.

Positioning the correct form within sentences

Correct positioning of forms within sentences is vital to ensure clear and effective communication. English grammar is complex, and it can be challenging to get everything in the right place for the reader or listener to comprehend. Using proper grammar rules, such as subject-verb agreement and correct word order, is essential through all forms of written and spoken communication. Incorrect form positioning can hinder your message and cause confusion for the receiver.

By taking the time to learn and practice proper grammar usage, you can not only improve your writing and speaking skills, but also convey your message with clarity and confidence.

How to use relative pronouns with reflexives

Using relative pronouns with reflexives can be a useful tool in writing more complex sentences. When using a relative pronoun, such as “who” or “that,” to connect a reflexive pronoun, such as “myself” or “herself,” to its antecedent, you create a clearer connection between the two ideas. For example, instead of writing “I saw the woman that was cleaning herself” you can say “I saw the woman who was cleaning herself,” which makes it clearer that the woman was the one doing the cleaning.

However, it’s important to remember to choose the right pronoun for the gender and number of the antecedent, as well as to keep the tense and voice consistent throughout the sentence. With practice, using relative pronouns with reflexives can help elevate your writing to the next level.

Compound subjects and how they are formed with reflexives

When constructing sentences, it’s essential to understand the concept of compound subjects. Compound subjects enable writers to link two or more subjects together in a sentence. Reflexives are a critical element in creating this structure. Reflexives help emphasize the subject in a sentence, highlighting who is performing the action. Using the reflexive pronoun ‘self’ or ‘selves,’ we can create compound subjects.

For instance, ‘John and I’ can turn into ‘John and I, ourselves.’ This structure elevates the sentence’s subject and provides a more profound meaning to it. Understanding how to form compound subjects with reflexives elevates a writer‘s overall skills and helps them express their ideas more effectively.

Active and passive voice rules related to the use of reflexives

When we talk about the use of reflexives in active and passive voice, we need to be mindful of certain rules. In active voice, reflexive pronouns are used only when the subject performs an action on itself. Meanwhile, in passive voice, reflexive pronouns are not typically used. Instead, we use personal pronouns.

For example, “I cut myself” would become “I was cut by someone” in passive voice. Keep in mind that there are exceptions to these rules, particularly in situations where there is ambiguity in the sentence. Understanding the rules related to the use of reflexives in active and passive voice is important to ensure clear communication.

Prepositional phrases involving the use of reflexives

Prepositional phrases involving the use of reflexives are a crucial part of the English language. These phrases typically involve the use of pronouns like myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, and themselves, which help to convey actions performed by a person or thing upon itself. For example, I washed myself or they hurt themselves.

These phrases are important to learn as they add clarity and specificity to your writing and speech. By mastering the correct usage of these phrases, you can effectively communicate and improve the quality of your language.


Reflexive pronouns are an important part of the English language. By understanding their use, you can write and speak with clarity and confidence. Being aware of the rules related to reflexives, such as when to use them, compound subject forms, prepositional phrases involving reflexives, active and passive voice rules related to their usage and relative pronouns with reflexives will help you be more efficient in your communication skills. With proper practice and dedication to grammar, you will become a better writer and communicator.


Q: What is a reflexive pronoun?

A: A reflexive pronoun is an indirect object pronoun that refers back to the subject in a sentence. It typically ends with -self or -selves and is used when the subject performs an action upon itself. For example, “I gave myself a break.”

Q: How do I identify a reflexive pronoun in a sentence?

A: To identify reflexive pronouns in sentences, look for words ending in -self or -selves after verb being used in the sentence. Reflexive pronouns are typically used with action verbs, such as “to bathe” or “to prepare”.

Q: What is the difference between intensive and emphatic pronouns?

A: An intensive pronoun is a reflexive pronoun that emphasizes the subject of a sentence by referring back to it. For example, “I myself will make dinner.” An emphatic pronoun is similar to an intensive pronoun but places emphasis on another noun or pronoun in the sentence rather than just on the subject. For example, “John himself made dinner.”

Q: When should I not use a reflexive pronoun?

A: A reflexive pronoun should never be used if the subject and object are not the same. For example, “John gave himself a gift” would be incorrect because John is both the subject and object of the sentence. Instead, it should read “John gave him a gift”.

Q: Are there gender specific forms for different persons when using reflexives?

A: Yes, when referring to an individual in third person singular there are gender-specific forms for reflexive pronouns. For masculine nouns or pronouns it is “himself”, for feminine nouns or pronouns it is “herself” and for nonbinary genders it is “themselves”.

Q: Is there a difference between plural and singular forms of reflexives?

A: Yes, the singular forms of reflexive pronouns usually end in -self (e.g., himself, herself, itself) and the plural forms usually end in -selves (e.g., themselves, yourselves).

Q: Where should reflexives be positioned within sentences?

A: Reflexive pronouns are typically positioned after verbs or prepositions but before conjunctions or adverbs. For example, “He prepared himself for the test” or “John gave it to himself.”

Q: Are there any special rules for using relative pronouns with reflexives?

A: Yes, when two clauses exist with a subject-verb relationship between them, a Q: Are there any common mistakes to avoid when using reflexives?

A: Yes,

By knowing these few key facts about reflexive pronouns, you should be able to confidently identify and correctly use them in your Q: Are there any compound forms of reflexives?

A: Yes, sometimes two or more reflexive pronouns may be used together with a single verb. This is known as a compound reflexive pronoun; for example “John and Mary got themselves ready.” In this sentence, the compound reflexive pronoun “themselves” refers to both John and Mary. Compound reflexives can also be used for emphasis; for example “The cat itself was eating.” Here, the word “itself” is used for emphasis to show that it was indeed the cat who was eating.

By understanding how to use reflexive pronouns, you should be able to communicate more effectively in your writing! Remember key rules such as using gender-specific forms when appropriate, being careful with subject/object verb relationships and not using a reflexive pronoun if a relative pronoun exists. With these tips in mind, you should have no problem properly using reflexives in your sentences! Good luck!

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