I’m going to guess that you’ve learned everything you ever wanted to know about reflexive pronouns from my other blog post on the subject. Now we can really cement your knowledge by looking at an abundance of examples! Here are 32 reflexive pronoun examples that are sure to make you an expert.
What Is a Reflexive Pronoun?
First, a quick review. A reflexive pronoun is used as an object when the subject of a sentence and its object are the same person or thing. These reflexive pronouns always end in -self or -selves. Another way to think about it would be to just remember that reflexive pronouns are generally used when a person or persons are performing an action on themselves.
Karen hurt herself on the playground.
You see how Karen and herself are both the same person? Therefore, we can say the reflexive pronoun herself reflects back on the subject (which is Karen), because both words refer to the same person.
There are nine reflexive pronouns:
Reflexive Pronoun Examples
In the following reflexive pronoun examples, I am using each of the nine reflexive pronouns in the three different ways that they are used: as direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of the preposition.
I’ve even included the reflexive pronoun “oneself” in these reflexive pronoun examples, even though it is no longer commonly used. And just for fun, I’ve included a section on commonly misused reflexive pronouns so that you can see more clearly what not to do.
I hurt myself trying to fix my father’s car.
You sent yourself another Valentine’s Day card, didn’t you?
Jack introduced himself to his girlfriend’s parents.
Mary walked herself to school for the first time last week.
The bug found itself caught in yet another screen enclosure.
One must get oneself insured if one intends to drive on city streets.
We admonished ourselves for not getting to the concert sooner.
You blame yourselves for the accident, but you had nothing to do with it.
The choir practiced themselves to the point of exhaustion.
I tried to stay away from that third piece of cake, but I just couldn’t help myself.
You should not do the repair to the air conditioning unit yourself.
Brian offered to drive me to Boston himself but I just couldn’t see putting him out like that.
Little Sara tried to reach the bucket herself but the shelf was way too high.
The alligator ate the large bird and found itself feeling quite full.
One should always brush daily or risk finding oneself in the dentist’s chair.
Our band struck up another of the crowd’s favorite songs and found ourselves receiving a standing ovation.
You people need to hurry and get yourselves some water before the race.
The crowd of standby actors cheered the movie star and found themselves in awe of his grace and style.
Object of the Preposition
I don’t like to be by myself on stormy nights after a scary movie.
You think of yourselves pretty highly, don’t you?
Jerry was quite happy with himself as he admired his handiwork.
Susan really had to dig deep inside herself to come up with that poem.
The dragonfly was in a standoff between itself and the bullfrog.
One must not think of oneself as a bad example and never try to improve.
My karate class had to laugh at ourselves for not being able to break any boards.
You had to be proud of yourselves for raising so much money for charity.
The renegade bunch of outlaws robbed the bank to see for themselves if it could be done.
Reflexive Pronoun Examples: What NOT to Do
These are reflexive pronoun examples which show both correct and incorrect usage. Some of these are really common mistakes too.
Don’t use reflexive pronouns in compound objects
- Bring all of your dirty clothes down to your mother and myself so that we can wash some laundry.
- Bring all of your dirty clothes down to your mother and me so that we can wash some laundry.
Don’t use reflexive pronouns in compound subjects
- Dr. Shelton and myself collaborated on the paper that was presented to the board of psychiatry.
- Dr. Shelton and I collaborated on the paper that was presented to the board of psychiatry.
In most cases, you will use a personal pronoun instead of a reflexive pronoun when you are writing compound subjects or objects.
Don’t use reflexive pronouns when the verb is a common occurrence
- He washed himself in the shower for the third time today.
- He washed in the shower for the third time today.
Common occurrences like washing and shaving do not need to be emphasized with a reflexive pronoun. The exception is when you want to show that the subject is doing something out of the ordinary.
- He washed himself in the shower despite his massive injuries.
Don’t use reflexive pronouns after prepositions of place
- Jack placed the fishing tackle beside himself.
- Jack placed the fishing tackle beside him.
Don’t use reflexive pronouns after “with”
In this case, we are referring to the preposition with when it means “accompanied by.”
- Diane took some bubble gum with herself to the movie.
- Diane took some bubble gum with her to the movie.
Hope these examples were helpful in understanding reflexive pronouns. For even more examples and practice, don’t forget to check out our Professional Writing lessons!