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Business Grammar Hints and Helps: Me, Myself, and I

“Somebody somewhere sometime must have told a class of students that the ‘self’ pronouns (reflexive pronouns), such as myself, yourself, and ourselves, sound more elegant or sophisticated than the plain garden variety.” – From Booher’s Rules of Business Grammar

Consider these statementsBusiness Grammar Hints and Helps: “If I Was You…”
“Ellen and myself share the western territory.”
“Perhaps Sam, Javier, and yourself could join us next Tuesday.”

It seems the simple “me” or “you” has been lost! However, to use a reflexive pronoun properly, there must first be a noun or pronoun to which this “self” refers. If I is not already in the sentence, it is incorrect to add myself. Just as you would never say, “Myself is attending the shareholder meeting,” it is incorrect to use “self” pronouns without their corresponding nouns.

Consider these statements corrected
“Ellen and I share the western territory.”
“Perhaps Sam, Javier, and you could join us next Tuesday.”

The corrected form reads more fluidly – and feels less presumptuous. Simplicity and clarity are fundamental keys to effective communication.

That said, remember there are appropriate times to use reflexive pronouns: for added emphasis! “You yourself called Bob and explained the situation!” (Meaning: How could he claim he doesn’t know about the problem? Certainly he does, because you personally told him!) The added emphasis of the reflexive pronoun creates emphasis and clarity.

Quick Grammar Rule to Remember: Any “self” pronoun must refer to a noun or pronoun within the same sentence.

Continuing to build the strength of your business grammar strengthens the credibility of your message and personal presence. Interested to improve your writing skills and business grammar? Check out Booher Academy’s training workshops: “Strategic Writing Workshop”, “Proofreading and Editing Workshop”, or “Good Grief, Good Grammer Workshop”  just to name a few!
Source: Booher’s Rules of Business Grammar, Dianna Booher