Look at these examples to see how reflexive pronouns are used.
She looked at herself in the mirror.
I'm trying to teach myself Italian with an app.
Our children walk to school by themselves.
Try this exercise to test your grammar.
- Grammar test 1
Read the explanation to learn more.
Reflexive pronouns are words like myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves. They refer back to a person or thing.
We often use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object of a verb are the same.
I cut myself when I was making dinner last night.
I hope you enjoy yourselves at the party tonight!
My phone isn't working properly. It turns itself off for no reason.
We need to believe in ourselves more.
We can add a reflexive pronoun for emphasis when it's unusual or different.
He wants to pass his driving test so that he can drive himself to work.
She broke her arm, so she couldn't wash herself very easily.
We can use reflexive pronouns to emphasise that someone does it personally, not anybody else.
The door was definitely locked. I locked it myself.
Are you redecorating your flat yourselves?
We can also use a reflexive pronoun together with the noun it refers to in order to emphasise it.
We talked to the manager herself, and she agreed to give us our money back.
Parents themselves need to take more responsibility for their children's learning.
By + reflexive pronoun
We can use by + reflexive pronoun to mean alone.
He usually goes on holiday by himself.
Do you enjoy being by yourself?
Notice the difference between plural reflexive pronouns and reciprocal pronouns (each other, one another).
They're buying themselves a new television.
They're buying each other small gifts.
We looked at ourselves in the mirror.
We looked at each other in surprise.
With reciprocal pronouns (e.g. each other), each person does the action to the other person/people but not to themselves.
Do this exercise to test your grammar again.
- Grammar test 2