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Occasionally, I will hear or read coworkers using "myself" in place of "me," as in:

If you have any questions, you can contact Gimli or myself.

I have sent the list to Legolas, Glorfindel, Aragorn, and myself.

This sticks out to me every time I hear it, and seems like an attempt to sound more professional than if they were to say "Gimli or me".

It seems wrong because you would not say "You can contact myself."

I also wonder if "myself" is an attempt to avoid the confusion of "me" versus "I" in a sentence.

  1. Is this a valid use of "myself"?
  2. Has anyone else experienced this, or is it a Midwestern regional idiom?
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I love the juxtaposition of fantasy literature with irritating business-ese in your examples. – nohat Aug 31 '10 at 17:26
I think that the use of myself instead of me doesn't have a particular meaning in business-speaking. – kiamlaluno Aug 31 '10 at 18:52
"I did the work myself." or the always fun "I did the work my own self." – Dennis Williamson Aug 31 '10 at 21:50
I think that myself is used more in Irish English than in many other varieties, but I could be wrong. – TRiG Oct 15 '10 at 18:04
up vote 10 down vote accepted

This usage is justified by the usage notes in Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. See my answer to You and Yourself, Me and Myself for a discussion of the grammaticality of myself in non-reflexive constructions.

This usage probably comes from discomfort people have with selecting pronoun case in coordinates. There is a rule in informal English that you always use accusative case in coordinations of pronouns regardless of syntactic position (“My brother and me are hardly on speaking terms these days.”—you can find many examples like this in the Corpus of Contemporary American English), but there is also a rule in standard formal English that those kinds of coordinations are ungrammatical and you must use the nominative case. As a result, people are uncomfortable using either me or I because their intuition leads them to say me but the formal grammar they learned in school draws them towards I, so they “split the difference”, as it were, and use myself.

Edit: Shinto Sherlock correctly points out that the second example usage in the question is in fact a perfectly normal use of reflexive myself. I’m not sure either why it would be a surprising usage.

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I have sent the list to Legolas, Glorfindel, Aragorn, and myself.

Hum, that seems like a completely legitimate use of myself to me.

I sent it to myself

rather than

I sent it to me

(set to community wiki, yes this is a comment on the question but the comment box is hopeless for writing comments in.)

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Good point. I think it's actually the present perfect(?) tense (which you changed to past tense in your distilled examples) that made the original example unpleasant to me. – mskfisher Sep 1 '10 at 11:28

I agree, it sounds very stuck up. (like what moioci said earlier)

If you have any questions, you can contact Gimli or myself.

This is improper English. (Basically people who want to sound smart but don't know grammar.)

Mind that it has nothing to do with formality, and in proper English, you should never use myself in place of me when it isn't reflexive.

I have sent the list to Legolas, Glorfindel, Aragorn, and myself.

This is correct because it is used as a reflexive.

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This always strikes my ear as an obnoxious affectation, as though me is too small to be important, so I'll puff it up to myself.

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yeah it's not correct really. "You can contact me," not "You can contact myself." – Claudiu Oct 15 '10 at 13:33

It's quite commonly used here in the States; "myself" and "yourself" seem to denote only slightly more formal equivalents of "me" and "you", particularly in groups and formal situations. Consider it explication: "and/or myself" is like "and/or even me", both somewhat implying that the listener might not otherwise have expected the inclusion of the speaker in the group.

Nor is "myself" limited to the last element of a list:

You can get in touch with myself or Jimmy when you've completed the work.
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