Reflexive pronouns (myself)

 

Q:

Please comment on the usage of language I often spot in business emails:

揚lease respond to me and my assistant.?

vs.

揚lease respond to myself and my assistant.?

B. Paul
[email protected]

A:

In the sentences from Mr. Paul, the order of the words should be 搈y assistant and me?and 搈y assistant and myself.?It抯 considered correct to put reference oneself last, after the reference to others.

As for the pronouns me vs. myself: strictly speaking, me, the object pronoun, is the one to use. Myself is a reflexive pronoun, and is correctly used in sentences such as 揑 saw myself in the mirror,? and 揑 did it myself.?/p>

Descriptive grammar explanations, however, contain the following:

  • Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (Biber, Johansen, Leech, Conrad, Finnegan. Longman, 1999, p. 343) states: 揑n examples of this type, reflexive pronouns are used as an alternative to personal pronouns. They occur particularly in contexts where there is case variation in personal pronouns.?(Case variation can be defined as less than perfect attention given to the case of pronouns.)
  • Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985) lists this use as one under 搒emi-reflexive?pronoun: 揥hen a reflexive pronoun (particularly a first person pronoun) is coordinated with another phrase:
  • They have never invited Margaret and me/myself to dinner.?/p>

  • Celce-Muria and Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book (Heinle and Heinle, 1999, p. 310) refers to remarks by Staczek: 搮such uses of reflexives卹eflect the speaker抯 or the writer抯 insecurity over whether to use the subject or object pronoun or a reflexive pronoun??/li>

So, the use of myself instead of the object pronoun me is borderline acceptable in the sentences that Mr. Paul sent梑ut it might be frowned upon by prescriptive grammarians.