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When is it correct to use “yourself” and “myself” (versus “you” and “me”)?

In a conversation, how is is correct to say:

You can contact John, Jane or me for more information ...

or

You can contact John, Jane or myself for more information ...

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5  
You'd say me, unless you're talking to yourself. –  Kris May 9 '12 at 15:40
2  
For your example sentences only, I would say that either is correct. –  user14070 May 9 '12 at 19:55
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marked as duplicate by z7sg Ѫ, KitFox, JSBձոգչ, jwpat7, FumbleFingers May 10 '12 at 0:41

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5 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Me.

Myself is reflexive: it denotes that the person (me) is doing something to that person (myself) and no other.

It's not correct to use a reflexive pronoun unless the recipient of the action is the person doing that action. You can't mix you with myself.

You can talk to me.
I can talk to myself.

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1  
A Benjamin Disraeli quote (via Barry England): "Lord Salisbury and myself have brought you back peace—but a peace I hope with honour." –  z7sg Ѫ May 9 '12 at 16:18
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So "I will fix the car myself" is wrong? –  David Schwartz May 9 '12 at 19:35
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@z7sg: That's not modern English. –  Cerberus May 9 '12 at 19:48
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@z7sg: But is it considered acceptable by modern style guides? The question is not whether anyone ever says this (the answer would be clearly yes). Politicians are not known for the readability and elegance of their language... –  Cerberus May 9 '12 at 20:13
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@Cerberus This is a question about spoken English. I could find many such examples by all sorts of people. It's a common and acceptable usage that happens to fall foul of a prescriptive grammar rule. Clearly, it is the rule that is wrong. English grammar is not in fact governed by a set of fixed rules. –  z7sg Ѫ May 9 '12 at 21:14
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Use "me." Myself is unnecessary here. As a simple test, remove John and Jane from the sentence and re-read it. Which sounds better?

  1. You can contact me for more information.
  2. You can contact myself for more information.
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1  
+1 for the simple test. Works well for me vs. I, too. –  dj18 May 9 '12 at 18:48
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How does this answer the question? The question didn't ask if "myself" was necessary, nor did it ask which sounded better. –  David Schwartz May 9 '12 at 19:36
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Myself is only used when you are both the object and the subject, for example:

I hurt myself.

Since this is not one of those cases (you is the subject here, not I), use me.

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2  
So "I will do it myself" is incorrect? –  David Schwartz May 9 '12 at 19:36
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People sometimes replace [me] with myself, as if to avoid putting the spotlight directly on themselves:

'The chairman appointed myself to that position.'

There is no need to do this. In fact we draw less attention to ourselves by using the ordinary me:

'The chairman appointed me to that position.'

(from 'The Cambridge Guide to English Usage')

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1  
Have you read Arnold Zwicky’s blog posting regarding “untriggered reflexives” about all this? It’s rather interesting. –  tchrist May 9 '12 at 17:00
    
@tchrist: Thank you. –  Barrie England May 9 '12 at 18:22
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There's no need to do this, but perhaps the person specifically wanted to draw more attention to themselves. –  David Schwartz May 9 '12 at 19:38
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The use of "myself" and similar reflexives for emphasis is normal English usage of the word. This particular speaker wanted to place emphasis on the fact that they personally were one of the people you could contact for information.

Some dictionaries even list this definition first:

  1. (used as an intensive of me or I): I myself will challenge the winner. - dictionary.reference.com

It is commonly claimed that reflexive pronouns are only permitted when the subject and object are the same. While this is certainly a common usage of reflexive pronouns, this rule would reject such common constructions as, "I had to fix it myself."

However, the original example (a naked myself used as an emphatic me) is considered by many (and I personally agree) to be poor style. And many people may (wrongly, IMO) consider it incorrect. So I'd generally suggest avoiding it unless you really do need the emphasis for some reason. And even then, you can get emphasis by using "me personally" or "me myself", which is much less unpleasant.

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1  
This is quite different. Using myself in apposition to I/me is accepted by all: using it as the head of a noun phrase while the subject is not I/me is not. –  Cerberus May 9 '12 at 19:54
    
Here, you are using myself as an intensifier, not as a reflexive pronoun. An intensifier is always OK, as in "You can contact John, Jane or me myself ..." -- but you always need me as the object if the action is not reflexive. –  Andrew Leach May 9 '12 at 19:59
    
@AndrewLeach: The original example proves that you don't. –  David Schwartz May 9 '12 at 20:00
    
Examples in questions don't prove anything, nor do politicians who use it wrongly. It is quite common, though. –  Andrew Leach May 9 '12 at 20:05
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@AndrewLeach: "Everyone is doing it wrong" is incoherent. "Right" is how people do it. –  David Schwartz May 9 '12 at 20:07
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