Self Words: This Redundancy is Self-Evident

The reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. (Notice that there is no themself, ourself, theirselves, or hisself in that list, so please don’t ever say those non-words again.) When you use one of these reflexive pronouns, do not use another self word in the same sentence; and when you use a self word, do not use a reflexive pronoun in the same sentence. Let’s look at some examples.

· He has no self-respect (not He has no self-respect for himself); self word with no reflexive pronoun in the sentence.

· She has confidence in herself (not She has self-confidence in herself); reflexive pronoun, herself, with no other self word in the sentence.

· He has no self-respect for himself (self word and reflexive pronoun) is incorrect because self-respect is already respect for oneself, so adding the himself makes the sentence He has no respect for himself for himself, which, obviously, is one himself too many.

You cannot have self-control over yourself, be self-absorbed with yourself, or be self-deprecating to yourself. The problem is redundant, not to mention self-evident.


Sherry’s Grammar List and Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

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