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What are general guidelines when to use me and myself?

Did I describe me or did I describe Maria?

OR

Did I describe myself or did I describe Maria?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The two parts separated by or are complete, independent sentences. As such, the presence of the second half ("did I describe Maria") has no impact on the first half at all.

Thus, the question is, which of these two is correct:

  1. Did I describe me?

  2. Did I describe myself?

The answer is (2), because myself is the object of the sentence, and I is the subject. Outside of stylized usage, if the (grammatical) subject and object are the same entity, the reflexive must be used for the object.

  • John hit him. (John and him are different people)
  • John hit himself. (John and himself are the same person)
  • John hit John. (must be two different people named John)

So, to sum up:

  • I hit him. (grammatical)
  • *I hit himself. (ungrammatical, because subj. and obj. aren't same entity)
  • *I hit me. (ungrammatical, because I and me are the same entity)
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