The pronouns reflexive (reflexive pronouns) are terms used in English phrases when the subject of prayer practice an action on them. When the subject is the active and sufferer of the action, it is implied that it is a reflexive case, as in the phrase “The dog is licking itself”. (The dog is licking itself).


Reflexive pronouns are terms ending in “self” or “selves”. In the example above, one can identify that the reflective pronoun is “itself”.


Difference between self and selves


As stated above, the self and selves endings are indicative of reflexive pronouns. However, the difference is in the reference to the singular or plural.


The ending self is used for singular people, such as: I, You, He / Her and It.  The selves ending is used for plural people, such as: We, Your and They.


What are the reflexive pronouns in English?


 Myself  Myself, me  I looked at myself in the photo. (I looked at myself in the photo).
 Yourself  You, yourself, yourself, yourself  How do you describe yourself? (How do you describe yourself?)
 Himself  Himself, himself,  He does not know himself.
 Herself  To herself, herself,  She takes care of herself. (She takes care of herself).
 Itself  Yourself, yourself  The dog is licking itself. (The dog is licking itself).
 Ourselves  Ourselves, ourselves  We love ourselves. (We love each other).
 Yourselves  To you, yourselves, yourself  You should love yourselves. (You should love yourself).
 Theself  To themselves, to themselves, to themselves  They are proud of themselves. (They are proud of themselves).

Note : reflective pronouns can also be used with nouns to mean one of the subject’s people (“me”, “you”, “him”, “her”, etc.) and “nobody else”.


Example : Did you do this homework yourself or did you get help? (Did you do this homework yourself or did you get help?).




List of reflective pronouns and personal pronouns in English


The pronouns personal ( personal pronouns in English ) have corresponding pronouns for each person of the subject. Thus, reflexive pronouns also have pronouns that relate to personal pronouns.


Check this relationship in the table below:


 Personal Pronouns  Reflexive Pronouns
 I  Myself
 You  Yourself
 He  Himself
Her  Herself
 It  Itself
 We  Ourselves
 You  Yourselves
 They  Theself

Classifications of reflexive pronouns


  1. Reflective function


It is the most common type. In this case, the action of the verb happens to the subject himself and the pronoun agrees with the subject of the sentence, appearing after him.


Example : The dog is licking itself. (The dog is licking itself).


Note : the reflective pronoun itself is used for animals, objects or things.


The dog is licking itself / The dog is licking itself. (Photo: Pixabay).

  1. Idiomatic function

    It is when the subject performs an action alone, dispensing help from someone. It is indicated by the preposition “by”, preceding the reflexive pronoun.

    Example: Sometimes Adryanna prefers to be by himself. (Sometimes Adryanna prefers to be / be alone).

    3. Emphatic function

    As the name announces, it is the pronoun used to emphasize the subject who practices the action of the speech. In this case the pronoun will agree with the subject, and may appear after him or after the object in the sentence.

    Example: Diana wrote the letter herself. (Diana herself wrote the letter).

    4. Reciprocal reflective pronouns (reciprocal pronouns)

    Reciprocal reflective pronouns ( reciprocal pronouns) are expressed by “Each other” and “One another” to refer to more than one person or thing in the dialogue.

    There is a basic difference between reflexive pronouns and reciprocal pronouns. For example, in the phrase “They looked at themselves in the mirror”, it is a reflexive case because each of the subjects is the sufferer of their own action (they looked in the mirror). Unlike when they say “They looked at each other lovingly”, because in that sense one looked at the other and not at themselves. Therefore, this is a reciprocal case.

    Thus, each other is used when, in the sentence, the subject makes reference to two things or to two people indicating reciprocity. One another it should be used when the subject of the sentence refers to more than two people or things, also indicating a reciprocal relationship.


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