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Prepositions Quiz

Mixed Prepositions

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What are Reflexive Pronouns? Examples & Usage | Tips and Tricks

Introduction

In English grammar, pronouns are words used to replace nouns in a sentence. Reflexive pronouns are a type of pronoun used to refer back to the subject of the sentence. They are essential to convey the meaning of a sentence and avoid ambiguity. In this article, we will discuss reflexive pronouns, their usage, and common mistakes to avoid.

Table of the Reflexive Pronoun

A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that ends with “-self” or “-selves,” which refers back to the subject of the sentence. It shows that the subject is performing an action on itself. Reflexive pronouns are different from personal pronouns because they cannot be used as the subject of the sentence.

Table of the Reflexive Pronoun

Person Singular Plural
First
my
Ourselves
Second
Yourself
Yourselves
Third
Himself, Herself, Itself
Themselves

Importance of Understanding Reflexive Pronouns

Understanding reflexive pronouns are important to convey the meaning of a sentence clearly. Incorrect usage of reflexive pronouns can create ambiguity and confusion in a sentence. Moreover, in academic writing, the correct use of reflexive pronouns is critical to maintain the standard of writing and convey the intended message clearly.

Usage of Reflexive Pronouns

To refer to the subject of the sentence when the subject performs an action on itself. Example: She washed herself before going to bed.
To emphasize the subject of the sentence. Example: We ourselves built this house.
To show that two or more people perform an action on each other. Example: They hurt each other during the fight.

Example in Simple Sentences

I hurt myself while playing.
She talks to herself when she is alone.
He enjoys cooking for himself.

Example in Complicated Sentences

John reminded himself to complete the project by the deadline.
The cat cleaned itself after playing in the garden.
We prepared ourselves for the worst-case scenario.

Tips and Tricks for Using Possessive Pronouns

Use reflexive pronouns only when the subject performs an action on itself.
Do not use reflexive pronouns as the subject of the sentence.
Use reflexive pronouns to emphasize the subject of the sentence.
Be careful while using reflexive pronouns with prepositions. Example: He is angry with himself, not He is angry with him.

Using Reflexive Pronouns in Writing

Using reflexive pronouns in writing is essential to convey the intended meaning of a sentence. They can be used to add emphasis, provide clarity, and create a professional tone. However, it is important to use them correctly and avoid common mistakes.

Using Reflexive Pronouns in Speech

Reflexive pronouns are commonly used in speech, especially in informal settings. However, it is important to use them correctly to avoid ambiguity and confusion.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using reflexive pronouns as the subject of the sentence. Example: Herself likes to sing.
Using reflexive pronouns without a clear antecedent. Example: They saw themselves in the mirror.
Using reflexive pronouns with prepositions incorrectly. Example: He is angry with him, not He is angry with himself.

Short Sentence Examples of Possessive Pronouns

I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.
We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.
She ran into herself at the grocery store.

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FAQs About Reflexive Pronouns

You should use a reflexive pronoun when the subject and object of the sentence are the same. For example, “I cut myself while shaving” or “She taught herself to play the guitar.”
Some examples of reflexive pronouns include myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
No, reflexive pronouns cannot be used in the subject position of a sentence. They can only be used as objects.
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