Tag Archives: myself

“Myself” Is Almost Always Wrong

Somehow, I seem to know a few people who are lovers of  “myself.”  No, they are not in love with me.  They love the word–and unfortunately use it gratingly and incorrectly:

1. “Brenda and myself visited my cousin in Tucson.”

2. “John invited Brenda and myself for dinner this Saturday.”

Please, no!  Stop it, or I will be bald by Memorial Day!

“Myself” is NOT some elegant variation of “I” or “me.”  It never takes the place of either of those words. The  time to use “myself” is for emphasis at the end of a sentence when you have already mentioned yourself:

“I drove to Tucson myself.”  See that”I”?  That makes “myself” kosher.  I mentioned myself and then used “myself” at the end to emphasize the fact that no one else did any of the driving. I did it all myself.

In sentences 1 and 2, just leave out the other person temporarily and you will instantly know whether you need “I” or “me.”  You’d never say or write, “Myself visited my cousin in Tucson.” You know you would use “I.” Adding Brenda back into the sentence changes nothing.  It is “Brenda and I visited….”

In the second sentence, you’d never say or write, “John invited myself for dinner.”  You know the right word is “me.” Adding Brenda back to the sentence changes nothing: “John invited Brenda and me for dinner this Saturday.”

Have I made myself clear?

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I or Me?

A while ago I wrote about “myself” and how it is not a substitute for “I” or “me.” Use “myself” at the end of a sentence for emphasis, only when you’ve already mentioned yourself.  For example, “I painted the living room myself.”  You could put a period after “living room,” but the last word emphasizes that no one helped you.

Whether to use “I” or “me” is so easy:

Use “I” when it’s a subject.  “Sarah and I went to the movies last Sunday.”  Just temporarily take the other person out and you’ll always know whether you need “I” or “me.”  You’d never say “Sarah and me (or Me and Sarah!) went to the movies.”  Please, tell me you wouldn’t.

Use “me” when you need an object.  “The package arrived for Sarah and me.”  Take Sarah out and you wouldn’t write, “The package arrived for I.”  Putting Sarah back into the equation changes nothing.

For some reason, people think “I” is a classier or better pronoun that “me.”  It isn’t.  They are equal.  It just depends on whether you need a subject or an object.  Take out the other person temporarily, and you’ll always get this right.

 

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