Say Me, not Myself: A Post by Guest Blogger The Red Pen Editor

Dear Reader,

You’ll like what Karen Reddick, The Red Pen Editor has to say. You’ll also like her book Grammar Done Right. It’s full of fantastic tips guaranteed to make your writing and editing life easier.

Faye

Karen Reddick, The Red Pen Editor says:

I don’t know where or how the use of using myself in a sentence, in place of I or me began, but grammarians will agree that we wish it would stop. Perhaps saying I or me seemed a bit egotistical, so people began to replace these pronouns with the more polite sounding myself.

If you find that you get confused on when to use me, I, or myself, here is a trick to remember this rule: Whenever you think you should use myself in a sentence, remember, you’ll be self-ish if you do, and you will know that I or me is probably the better choice.

Examples:

Wrong: Tom and myself were invited to the party.

Correct: Tom and I were invited to the party.

Tip: If you remove Tom from the sentence, you would simply state, “I was invited to the party,” not “Myself was invited to the party.”

Wrong: Speaking at the seminar helped sell hundreds of books for Susan and myself.

Correct: Speaking at the seminar helped sell hundreds of books for Susan and me.

Tip: Once again, if you remove Susan from the sentence, you would state, “… the seminar helped sell hundreds of books for me,” not, “…for myself.”

When is it okay to be self-ish?

When the sentence refers to the subject.

Examples:

I’m going to treat myself to a massage.

I’ve been teaching myself to play the piano.

When used to emphasize.

Examples:

I made those cookies myself.

I carried those heavy boxes by myself.

This rule also works with the other self pronouns (called reflexive pronouns), herself, himself, itself, yourself, ourselves, themselves.

 

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