Compound Personal Pronoun

Understanding Compound Personal Pronouns

Compound personal pronouns are pronouns formed by adding the suffix self or selves to personal pronouns Opens in new window.

For Example:
  • myself, yourself, himself, herself, and itself as the singular forms, and
  • yourselves, ourselves, and themselves as the plural forms.

These are further shown below:

PersonSingularPlural
1st Personmyselfourselves
2nd Personyourselfyourselves
3rd Personhimself, hersef, itselfthemselves

How to Use Compound Personal Pronouns

Compound personal pronouns have two legitimate uses:

1.   The Intensive or Emphatic Use

The first legitimate use is known as the intensive or emphatic use and it involves using a compound personal pronoun after a noun or another pronoun to indicate more emphasis or intensity on the noun or pronoun.

Examples include:
  • The chief himself asked me to work on this project.
  • The secretary herself should inform the clients of the new meeting schedules.
  • I myself made sure the building was secure before I left.

2.   The Reflexive Use

The second legitimate use is known as the reflexive use.

This involves using a compound personal pronoun as the direct objectOpens in new window of a verb, as the indirect objectOpens in new window of a verb, as the object of a verbal, or as the object of a prepositionOpens in new window when both the subjectOpens in new window of the clauseOpens in new window and the object refer to the same person.

In other words, this involves using a compound personal pronoun to direct action back to the subject.

Examples include:
  • I deprive myself when I don’t get enough sleep.
  • I gave myself two weeks to complete the project.
  • I need to be by myself.
  • He needs to give himself mental maturity.
  • She needs to push herself harder.
Important Hints!  

Do not use a compound personal pronoun in place of the subject or object of a sentence. Remember, a compound personal pronoun emphasizes a noun or pronoun that has already been mentioned.

Consider the following:
  • Ronny threatened Jim and me.
    (not Jim and myself)
  • Joyce and I cooked the meal.
    (not Joyce and myself)