Myself: Use With Caution

email writing

by Rachel Eidan

Do you overuse the pronoun myself? If so, you’re not alone. People often use it when a simple I or me would work.

The problem is that myself tends to complicate sentences, which may be why some people are attracted to it—it sounds sophisticated and fancy. Resist the urge! Incorrectly using fancy words can make you appear snobby and ignorant, and may have a negative impact on your image and career.

Let’s make sure you never confuse me, myself and I. Here’s the lowdown on how each pronoun is used:

How “I” works in a sentence

Use the word I as the subject in a sentence. It is the person doing the action described by the verb. For example, “I rang the fire alarm” or “Matthew, Sioban and I attended the conference”

How “me” works in a sentence

Use the word me as the object in a sentence. It stands for the person an action is being done to. For example, “The supervisor called me.” The word me can also stand for the object of a prepositional phrase, such as, “The supervisor showed the procedure to me.”

How “myself” works in a sentence

Use the word myself, along with all the other “self” words, to be reflexive or emphatic.

•    Reflexive: to refer to the sentence’s subject (I feel good about myself.)
•    Emphatic: to emphasize (I offered to do it myself.)

Below are three extra examples to help you familiarize yourself with good choices for me, myself and I.

1.    Instead of: Angelie and myself will complete the report.
Say: Angelie and I will complete the report.

(Tip: When you have two or more subjects, remove the other subjects and see whether myself agrees. In the example above, you wouldn’t say: “Myself will complete the report.”)

2.    Instead of: Walter sent his report to the manager and myself before the meeting.
Say: Walter sent his report to the manager and me before the meeting.

3.    Instead of: I bought me a new phone.
Say: I bought myself a new phone.

Interested in testing your grammar skills? Take our 5 minute quiz.

2 Comments
  1. I loved taking the quiz. It is was great way to refresh my knowledge. Thank you!

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