Confused about Reflexive Prounouns

1

I write in informal American English because that's what my clients usually require. However, I still have issues. I want to remember the more formal ways of writing like I used to follow in school a long time ago. 

 

For instance, I wonder this: Why do I always receive a message that I may be using reflexive pronouns incorrectly?

 

For example, I wrote this sentence:

 

What better way to start a relationship than carefully asserting yourself?

My question about the above sentence:

 

Why is it wrong? Is it because I didn't add the word "you" before the verb "asserting"? Is it because this may not be a complete sentence? On the other hand, if it's for casual writing, wouldn't it be acceptable? Still, I need to know what is more proper if I were to ever take on projects that demand higher quality. 

 

Another question:

 

How would I word the above sentence so use of the reflexive pronound "yourself" is correct?

 

Reason for my confusion:

 

I continually hear "you need to take care of yourself" or "take care of yourself", so to me it seems correct. However, now that I write this, I wonder if my example sentences really is incomplete. (I sometimes intentionally break this rule--not having complete sentences--but I may not want to all the time.) 

 

I did think of one possibility:

 

"You need to assert yourself." Would that be correct use of a reflexive pronoun? 

3 answers


1

You may be getting the error message because the software does not see a previous 'you' in the sentence, because it is understand rather than written. When a reflexive pronoun is used, a reference noun or pronoun needs to be used as well. Your example 'You need to assert yourself.' shows the correct usage.

'He gave the money to John and myself.' is an example of incorrect usage. There is no previous reference for 'myself', so 'me' is the correct pronoun.

link comment edited Jul 01 '13 at 13:04 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow
1

There is no problem with "yourself" in the sentence.  You simply have to add by,  as in 

What better way to start a relationship than by carefully asserting yourself?  

"You need to assert yourself" is fine.

link comment answered Jul 01 '13 at 10:38 Michael Cranfield Expert
0

I agree with my colleagues'responses, but I want to add: as often happens, the context is incomplete here. I am sure that the big picture in which this sentence was used makes it obvious that you are addressing someone in the second person, singular. There's nothing wrong with your sentence, therefore.

link comment answered Jul 02 '13 at 01:24 Ahmad Barnard Expert

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