In today’s lesson, we will be talking about reflexive pronouns. They are called reflexive because they refer back to the subject of a verb. We form them by adding the sufixes  -self (for singular pronouns) and -selves (for plural pronouns). 

















When do we use reflexive pronouns?

Reflexive pronouns are used after certain verbs such as: cut, burn, enjoy, hurt, look at, amuse, dry, kill, satisfy, teach, etc. We use them when the subject and the object of the verb are the same person.

  • I made myself a salad. (I made a salad for me)
  • He’s cut himself while shaving. (He’s cut his own face)
  • Enjoy yourselves! (refers back to the subject – you)
  • We are looking at ourselves in the mirror. (we’re looking at us)
  • Since the party was boring, we tried to amuse ourselves by playing cards. 
  • She taught herself knitting. 

Notice the difference between yourself and yourselves:

  • Milly, you can hurt yourself with that sharp knife.
  • Rebecca and Alex, you can hurt yourselves.

When not to use reflexive pronoun

    We do not use reflexive pronouns after the verbs relax, feel, concentrate, meet.

    • I feel nervous. I can’t concentrate. (not I can’t concentrate myself).
    • Shall we meet at 5 o’clock? (not shall we meet ourselves)

    Reflexive pronouns cannot be used after a preposition of place. We normally use object pronouns after them.

    • I don’t have my telephone with me.
    • He saw a man standing next to him.

    When to use BY

    We use BY to emphasize that the subject of the verb did something alone.

    • I cleaned the house by myself.
    • Mary travelled to Turkey all by herself.

    Take a look at these expressions with reflexive pronouns:

    • Enjoy yourselves at the party!
    • Start behaving yourselves, children!
    • Make yourself at home!
    • Help yourself to a drink!
    Reflexive pronouns
    Reflexive pronouns

    Do the quiz to perfect your knowledge!

    You may also be interested in these posts:

    Indefinite Pronouns

    Relative Pronouns in English

    Reciprocal Pronouns: Each Other & One Another

    Personal Pronouns One and Ones

    WHO and WHOM

    Relative Clauses with WHO, WHICH and THAT

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