Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflexive pronouns - by themselves

Reflexive pronouns are used much less often in English than in other languages. To form them, you just have to use a possessive pronoun or an object pronoun and “self/selves”.

My + self = myself

Your + self = yourself

Him + self = himself

Her + self = herself

It + self = itself

Our + selves = ourselves

Your + selves = yourselves

Them + selves = themselves

When do we use them? Match the use with one of the sentences

(1) With reflexive verbs

(2) After a preposition

(3) To emphasize something

(a) We enjoyed ourselves this summer

(b) I don’t need any help; I’m going to finish it myself

(c) The student bought a notebook for himself with his pocket money.

In other languages there are more reflexive verbs than there are in English. This means that many speakers use reflexive pronouns in English based on their own language:

1. I get myself up, shower myself, shave myself and have breakfast before I leave for work.(*incorrect form)

I get up, shower, shave and have breakfast before I leave for work.

2. She gets herself upset when she isn’t able to do what she wants.(*incorrect form)

She gets upset when she isn’t able to do what she wants.

Complete the mini-quiz with a reflexive pronoun then answer the questions.

Can you name two things you would buy for ................. if you had the money?

Can you think of three professionals who can hurt ........... while doing their jobs?

Can you name an animal that cleans ..............?

Can you think of a professional who rehearses by .................? They can also practice with a group

Can you give two reasons why we shouldn’t wait for the government to solve social problems but try to do something ..................?

Now watch a Mr. Bean video and say if the sentences below are true or false.

  • He lives by himself

  • He has decorated the apartment by himself

  • He is going to celebrate NewYear’s Eve by himself.

  • The front door opens by itself.

  • The vinegar tastes good by itself.

  • His guests are enjoying themselves.

  • The time on the clock suddenly changes by itself.

What would you do or say if you were one of Mr. Bean’s guests?

What is something you like doing by yourself?