reflexive pronoun


difference between reflexive pronoun and emphasis pronoun

asked Jan 02 '13 at 09:45 abdullah New member

2 answers


Good question. Reflexive and emphasis (also called emphatic) pronouns are the same set of pronouns (himself, themselves, etc.) but function differently in a sentence.

Reflexive pronouns are objects (of the verb or of a preposition) which are the same person/thing as the sentence's subject.

"John hurt himself playing soccer yesterday." (John hurt John. The subject (John) and the object (himself) are the same person.)

Emphasis pronouns are not objects, and can either follow the subject or come at the end of the sentence/ clause. The emphasis pronoun emphasizes the action of the subject, particularly that the subject AND NO ONE ELSE did it.

"I cooked dinner myself." (No one helped me.)
"President Obama himself answered my letter!" (His assistants did not do it.)

Because emphasis pronouns serve only to emphasize, they can be removed from the sentence without making the sentence ungrammatical. "I cooked dinner" still makes sense, but is missing the emphasis of "I cooked dinner myself." However, reflexive pronouns cannot be removed from a sentence without rendering the sentence ungrammatical. "John hurt playing soccer yesterday" is an incorrect sentence.

I hope this helps.

link edited Jan 02 '13 at 12:13 Shawn Mooney Expert

Thank you.

sanjayJan 03 '13 at 04:21

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Grammarly's Handbook has a lot of information about pronouns.

link comment answered Jan 02 '13 at 11:54 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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