The compound personal pronouns are made by adding the suffix –self or –selves to the appropriate form of the simple pronouns.
In the first and second persons, the suffix is added to the possessive case: myself, ourselves, yourself, yourselves. In the third person they are added to the objective case: himself, herself, itself, themselves. Do not use the forms hisself and theirselves, for they are considered illiterate.
The case of the simple pronoun to which the suffix is added does not correspond to the case of the completed compound pronoun.
Therefore, although the suffix is added to the possessive case in the first and second persons, the resulting compound forms are not in the possessive case; they are in either the nominative or objective case, depending on their use in the sentence.
I myself will be held responsible (nominative — in apposition with the subject I).
I must have been kidding myself (objective — object of the verb).
Likewise, the third person forms, made from the objective case of the simple pronouns, are either nominative or objective, depending on their use in the sentence.
She herself will arrange the meeting (nominative — in apposition with the subject).
He made the desk for himself (objective — object of the preposition).
USES OF THE COMPOUND PERSONAL PRONOUNS
The compound personal pronouns have two uses.
Reflexive. In this use the action performed by the subject comes back to, in other words, is reflected back to, the subject.
He cut himself (direct object)
They set aside some money for themselves (object of a preposition).
She made herself a sandwich (indirect object).
When a reflexive pronoun is used as the object of a verb, we have the only exception to the rule that the direct object stands for a different person or thing than the subject. The test that the reflexive pronoun is the object of the verb is that it names the receiver of the action.
Note. In older English and in colloquial modern English the simple pronouns are used reflexively: as, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” I bought me a drink.” He got him a ticket to the concert.” “I looked behind me.” (In the last example, me is the accepted form.)
Emphatic. Compound pronouns can be used to add emphasis to a pronoun or noun already named.
I myself will take care of it.
They called a meeting with the supervisor himself.
These emphatic pronouns are in apposition with the preceding noun or pronoun.
Not all emphatic uses of compound pronouns invoke apposition.
The decision, in and of itself, wasn’t a bad one.
She hasn’t been herself lately.
I worked on the project by myself.
Copyright © 2012 Thomas Fasano.
Your English Class™ trademark is the property of Thomas Fasano.