An Effective Guide on Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs

The word ‘reflexive’ indicates that an action is ‘reflected’ back…

The word ‘reflexive’ indicates that an action is ‘reflected’ back to the subject in a sentence. That is to say; the subject is both the doer and recipient of the action. Understanding reflexive pronouns and verbs can be very useful in communicating as they’re common in everyday language.

Reflexive pronouns and verbs indicate that the subject is acting upon itself. This article details reflexive pronouns and verbs, highlighting their usage in sentences.

What are Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs?

Reflexive pronouns are used to indicate that the subject and object in a sentence are the same. They typically end in -self or -selves and refer back to the sentence’s subject (person or thing).

Reflexive pronouns in English include ourselves, themselves, yourselves, yourself, myself, himself, herself, and itself.

Consider the sentences below.

  • She took her mum to the clinic.
  • She took herself to the clinic.

In the first sentence, ‘she’ is the subject, ‘took’ is the verb, and ‘her mum’ is the object receiving the action. In the second sentence, ‘she’ is the subject, and ‘took’ is the verb. But who did she take? Herself! The subject and object of the second sentence above are the same so ‘herself’ is a reflexive pronoun.

Reflexive Pronouns List

Reflexive pronouns always go with their corresponding personal pronouns. Here is a list of both.

  • “Myself” goes with “I.”
  • “Yourself” goes with the singular form of “you.”
  • “Yourselves” goes with the plural form of “you.”
  • “Himself” goes with “he.”
  • “Herself” goes with “she.”
  • “Itself” goes with “it.”
  • “Ourselves” goes with “we.”
  • “Themselves” goes with “them.”
  • “Oneself” goes with “one.”

When to Use Reflexive Pronouns

Now that we understand reflexive pronouns, what scenarios warrant their usage? Reflexive pronouns are used to indicate that a subject is acting on itself rather than on another object. They’re helpful when using the third-person plural. For example:

  • They pleased them.
  • They pleased themselves.

The first sentence doesn’t suggest who “them” is. It may refer to other things or the subject “they” in the sentence. The second sentence, however, provides a better understanding of who the object is. The reflexive pronoun “themselves” suggests that the subject and object are the same.

Reflexive Pronouns in Sentences

  • I hurt myself while playing football.
  • You should visit the doctor instead of treating yourself when you’re unwell.
  • The building collapsed on itself because it lacked a strong foundation.
  • She took herself out on her birthday.
  • Pull yourselves together; the exam is not the end of the world.
  • I cried myself to sleep every night when my father died.
  • He taught himself to play the piano.
  • You know yourself better than I do.
  • We have been preparing ourselves for the final football season.
  • I gave myself a treat when I got a promotion.
  • The students tidied up their rooms by themselves.
  • One needs to create time for oneself.

Reflexive Verbs Overview

A verb is reflexive if its direct object is the same as its subject. Reflexive verbs refer to any verb form whose grammatical object is a reflexive pronoun.

Typically, the subject in a sentence is the person or thing performing the sentence’s action. The direct object is the receiver of such action. When the subject is both the performer and the receiver of an action, the verb is termed “reflexive.”

Consider the following sentences.

  • My father taught me to speak French.
  • I taught myself to speak French.

In the first sentence, the subject ‘my father’ performs the action ‘taught’ on the direct object ‘me.’ In the second sentence, the subject ‘I’ performs the action ‘taught’ on ‘myself.’

Myself in the second sentence is a reflexive pronoun because the subject and the object are the same. Automatically, the verb ‘taught’ in the second sentence is reflexive.

Examples of Reflexive Verbs in Sentences

  • Be careful with the knife. Don’t cut yourself!
  • Jon introduced himself to the principal.
  • My dad taught himself to speak Spanish.
  • She hurt herself while playing with the scissors.
person holding on red pen while writing on book
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

Reflexive pronouns are words that refer back to the subject in the sentence. They typically end in -self or -selves and indicate that the subject and object in a sentence are the same.

Reflexive verbs are any verb form whose direct object is a reflexive pronoun. If the subject and direct object in a sentence are the same, the verb being performed is reflexive.

It’s essential to understand the proper usage of reflexive pronouns and verbs as they’re typically used in everyday language. They allow us to reflect on and point back to the subject of the sentence with clarity.

Frequently asked questions

Which verbs Cannot be used with reflexive pronouns?

After verbs which describe things people usually do for themselves, we do not use a reflexive pronoun: He washed in cold water:. Before going out in the evening, he always shaved.

How do you use reflexive in a sentence?

  • He became more receptive, more interested in the past.
  • Shying is automatic and reflexive for newborns.
  • We all still use their language, and it is the language we aim to become reflexive about.
  • French language students had to manipulate reflexive verbs to create a song.

What is an example of a reflexive pronoun sentence?

I was in a hurry, so I washed the car myself. This morning, you will have to drive yourself to school. Seeing that she was impressed, he prepared a cake himself. In part because she doesn’t trust others to do the chores correctly, Jennifer does them herself.

What is the rule for reflexive pronouns?

These are the pronouns that end with “self” or “self-being”, e.g., “himself,” “myself,” and “ourself,” etc. Reflexive pronouns can be considered the following: If the object and the subject of a verb are the same, use the object’s reflexive pronomin. Don’t use one otherwise.

How do you memorize reflexive verbs?

What are the 7 reflexive pronouns?

Grammar explanation. These are words like me, yourself, himself, herself, themselves, ourselves, yourself and yourself.

How many types of reflexive pronouns are there?

The nine English reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, oneself, yourself and yourself.

What are the two parts of a reflexive verb?

There are two main components of reflexive verbs. The main verb is who is performing the action, and the reflexive pronoun is who the action is directed at. Reflexive verbs will also refer to the same person.

How do you learn reflexive verbs in Spanish?

If the verb ends, you can identify reflexive verbs with the reflexive pronoun “se” at the end of the verb (For example: Conocerse – to know each other).

What do reflexive verbs mean?

Words of reflexivity: verbs. countable noun. In a transitive verb, the subject and object always refer to the same person or thing, so the object is always a reflexive pronoun. As a way to enjoy yourself, ask yourself: “Did you enjoy yourself?”.

How do you know if a sentence is reflexive in Spanish?

If a sentence subject performs an action on itself, then the verb is considered reflexive, and the pronoun used to receive the action is reflexive. The singular reflexive pronouns are: me (myself), you (yourself), and you (himself (formal), himself, herself).

What are the 5 irregular Spanish verbs?

  • tener – “to have”
  • ir – “to go”
  • estar – “to be”
  • saber – “to know”
  • hacer – “to make”
  • Haber – auxiliary word for “to be” or “to have”.
  • ser – “to be”
  • dar – “to give”

What are 10 reflexive verbs?

  • Become interested in an area.
  • Acercarse means to get close to somebody.
  • To get bored, burrirse.
  • A meal – to go to bed.
  • Abbreviation: to shave
  • To remember is to agree.
  • Alegrerse – to feel happy.
  • Acostumbra a is to get accustomed to (to get used to).

Why are reflexive pronouns important?

The reflexive pronoun is a pronounce that “stinks” instantly back onto the subject of the sentence. They always end in -who or -selves, such as himself or herself, and are essential to understanding the meaning of a sentence.

What is the difference between reflexive verbs and normal verbs?

Reflexive verbs describe how a subject (person) is performing an action on itself. Reflexive verbs also end with the word “seek” in their natural (infinitive) form. Non-reflexive verbs express the act performed by a subject and received by f a different object.

An Effective Guide on Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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