As I understand it, he and him are etymologically, and for purposes of grammar, different cases of the same word. If it's the same word, wouldn't it be sufficient to use himself alone—with maybe the redundancy reserved for emphasis?

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    She herself and he himself are emphatic: She herself said she did it. ... that is, she said it, she accused herself, this is not something someone else said. Apr 16, 2013 at 2:03
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    Repetition is a common form of emphasis, isn't it? Well, isn't it? Apr 16, 2013 at 2:36
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    He himself is very much like Latin egomet lit 'I-me', an emphatic form of the first person pronoun. English doesn't have many morphological resources left, but the reflexive pronoun compounds my/your/him/her/it/themself, our/your/themselves have the distinction of being the only English paradigm to still distinguish 2nd person singular (yourself) and plural (yourselves), to say nothing of the nonspecific indefinite themself that is now widely used as the reflexive of "singular they". Apr 16, 2013 at 2:42
  • @JohnLawler I’m not sure that Latin ‑met is necessarily or strictly “me” despite its apparent 1p origin, in that it came to be used as a way of emphasizing other pronouns as well: suamet, tutemet. It was so frequently followed by the emphatic ipse that the Vulgar Latin *metipse, *metissimus gave rise to modern Romance mismo, mesmo, même and such, which when similarly pospositioned mean the same thing as ‑self (ES yo mismo, ella misma; FR moi-même, lui-même etc).
    – tchrist
    Apr 16, 2013 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


I would simply say, "Umm, yes." But that's flimsy. So I'll say, yes, it's often the case that himself is adequate by itself. (See?) And, of course, putting he and himself together can form an emphatic case.

But I also want to point out that the "he, himself" phrasing is also fundamental to a known logical fallacy, the bare assertion fallacy. Take a look at this slim yet informative article:


This leads to the sarcastic use of He, himself, has said it by which the validity of his statement is undermined by pointing out that the only basis for its supposed validity is that the speaker said it. This, then, is not an emphasis by repetition, but a refutation by mocking repetition.

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