Spiffing y'all up, one typo at a time
God gave us three different first-person pronouns to use in English: me, myself, I. Please feel free to use them all! But understand that there are rules about when, where, and how to use them. (I don’t have 10 commandments or anything like that. Let’s save those for the biggies like coveting and stealing. This is just grammar, y’all.)
I. The Golden Rule: Thou shalt not use them interchangeably. Each has its own role to play.
“Me,” “myself,” and “I” aren’t triplets, running around the set of a TV sitcom standing in each other’s place trying to trick their friends. Think of them like cousins—related but easily distinguished from one another.
“I” does the action: I am writing this blog.
“Me” receives the action: You make me so happy when you read my blog.
“Myself” has its own special function; it receives the action ONLY when “I” is the subject. It’s a reflexive pronoun. That means the subject is looking in the mirror and seeing the action reflected back:
That goes for “myself” and all the other reflexive pronouns (yourself, herself, himself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves). They can ONLY be used when the subject of the sentence (whoever is doing the action) and the object of the sentence (whoever is receiving the action) are the SAME.
II. Thou shalt not ask another person to do something to “myself.” Only I can do it to myself, you to yourself, he to himself . . . . You can’t give Bob or myself a call if you need anything. I have called myself and left a message to remind myself to pick up milk on the way home. But I can’t give yourself a call, so please quit asking me to.
III. Thou shalt not have “myself” do anything. I can do it. Myself cannot. Pam and myself are NOT coming to the party. Myself wasn’t invited. (Keep whatever you’re doing to yourself at home, please.)
IV. Thou shalt not ask others to give “myself” anything. I have given myself a headache trying to figure out how to explain this . . . .
Ready for a quiz? Please decide if “myself” is used correctly in these sentences. If not, please indicate the correct pronoun.