What Is an Intensive Pronoun?

An intensive pronoun is almost identical to a reflexive pronoun, but their functions differ. Intensive pronouns are used to add emphasis to the subject or antecedent of the sentence. You’ll usually find the intensive pronoun right after the noun or pronoun it’s modifying, but not necessarily.

The intensive/reflexive pronouns include myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves.

Furthermore, an intensive pronoun is defined as a pronoun that ends in “self” or “selves” and places emphasis on its antecedent.

The Difference Between Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

You can tell the difference between a reflexive pronoun and an intensive pronoun easily: intensive pronouns aren’t essential to a sentence’s basic meaning, whereas reflexive pronouns are.

To differentiate an intensive pronoun from a reflexive pronoun, remove it from the sentence; if it’s an intensive pronoun, the sentence will still make sense. If the sentence no longer makes sense when the pronoun is removed, it’s a reflexive pronoun.

Did you yourself make the cake?

The sentence would still make sense if we removed yourself—“Did you make the cake?” Therefore, yourself is an intensive pronoun in this context. Consider the intensive pronouns in the sentences below:

I myself like a little stroll after dinner.
We went to hear the man himself speak.
The author approved the book cover herself.

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