Tuesday, August 5, 2008

All about myself

Granny's tip of the day: Don't say myself if you mean me or I. Me is a perfectly good and acceptable word. I think myself is misused so often because as people are speaking, they become uncertain about whether the word they want to use is me or I. They retreat into myself because they think that's correct in every circumstance.

It isn't. In fact, in most cases it's wrong, and if you overuse it, you can sound stuffy and pretentious as well as stupid.

Let's straighten it out. Myself can be used under two circumstances:

To intensify a point about yourself. In this case, myself is called an intensive pronoun, and it usually follows the I immediately:

I myself believe that the boss is lying.

To refer to the subject of the sentence. In this case, myself is a reflexive pronoun and usually follows the verb:

I hurt myself professionally when I said I thought the boss was a liar.

That's pretty much it.

Here's a simple rule: If there's no I in the sentence, there shouldn't be a myself either. And if you mean me, say me. And you always mean me after prepositions such as to, for, between, beside, below, under, over, and many more.

Now you try. Which sentences below are correct? (If you need a refresher on the pronouns, go to Granny's previous post.)

Please send the report to Jasper and myself.

Elisa and myself will take reservations for the company picnic.

When you spoke to Jean and myself about it, you never mentioned the deadline.

My family and myself will be trekking in Nepal next month.

This is a great honor for the department and myself.

If you said they're all incorrect, go to the head of Granny's class. The correct answers are me, I, me, I, me. (As Granny's little grandson would say, "Look, it's a pattern!")

The pronouns I and me are usually sufficient for any occasion. Say them boldly.

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