Me, myself: a 21st century grammar lesson

November 14, 2011

Few grammatical errors make me as crazy as the misuse of the reflexive pronoun, myself.

Unless it’s using “media” as a singular, when it’s a plural. One medium; two media. Social media ARE, not Social media “is”. Oh, that grates.

But back to myself.

When I hear people misuse myself it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. If we still had chalkboards. Which we don’t.

People just don’t want to use the pronoun me any longer. So they substitute myself and sound ignorant.

Here’s an easy way to test for the correct pronoun.

“Please call Riley or myself with questions.”

How would you say this without Riley? “Please call myself with questions” is obviously wrong. It’s “Please call ME…”

The correct sentence, then, is “Please call Riley or me with questions.

Here’s an easier way to test today: If you want to use myself, you’re probably wrong. That’s because the wrong use is so pervasive we think it’s right. But it’s not.

Myself is a reflexive pronoun. Other examples are: yourself, himself, itself, themselves. A reflexive pronoun is never the subject of a sentence. It’s always the object –the thing having something done to it.

Would you say Myself got a job? No. It is never the subject.

You can use myself if you are both the subject and the object of a sentence. As in “I see myself teaching college again in the near future.” Or “He’s going to treat himself to Giants tickets.”

Thank you for indulging me in this little educational rant.

Call myself if you have any questions. I mean, call ME.

2 comments on “Me, myself: a 21st century grammar lesson
  1. Jan says:

    Awesome. I’m a freelance editor, and I see this one all the time. I could give you lists and lists of other grammar errors that I see all the time, in fact–but I’m sure you already know what would be there.

  2. Jan, feel free to share some of your “faves”… (shudder!)

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