Using ‘Myself’ Correctly

If you write in English and are a native speaker, please, please learn to use the word myself correctly. (Of course you should write correctly if you are a non-native speaker, but I am willing to cut you a little more slack because English has so many crazy rules and you’re probably occupied with learning obscure rules and exceptions, not to mention pronunciation.) I know I wrote about this before, but it bears repeating since I have seen so much misuse of this word.

Myself is used in certain specific instances, as follows:

For emphasis

An example sentence would be: I made that myself! You are emphasizing that you made it, not someone else.

When the subject and object are the same

Allow me to explain: when the subject and object of the sentence are both the same (in this case, first person singular), you will use myself.

  • I will defend myself against these accusations.
  • I am mad at myself.
  • I bought myself a present.

All of these are correct. Observe how the subject of the sentence is I, so the direct object (first sentence), object of the preposition (second sentence), and indirect object (third sentence) is myself.

Incorrect uses

Do <strongnot use myself in the following instances.

  • You should email Lisa or myself. Wrong – it should be me because the subject (you) is different from the object (Lisa or me).
  • Jack and myself observed… I can’t even complete that sentence, as it makes me cringe. Myself is never, ever, ever, ever used as a subject like that!

Look, I know grammar rules are not the most fun you’ve ever had. And I make grammar mistakes when I speak and (gasp) even sometimes when I write. But there are basics that people should learn, and this is one of them.

Questions? I’d be happy to answer you in the comments.

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Natalie K.

Banker. I like good things like foreign languages (I speak Russian!), history, writing, reading, playing violin, and knitting. I have a fabulous blog about all of the above.