Given the choice in sentences:

  • I appreciate the help from both yourself and Bob.
  • I appreciate the help from both you and Bob.

Which is correct?

I'm stuck because I can't seem to understand reflective pronouns. Can "yourself" only be used when the subject is also "you"?

marked as duplicate by anongoodnurse, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, tchrist, choster, Hellion Jul 18 '14 at 21:57

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  • 1
    Reflexive pronouns like yourself should only be used if the corresponding non-reflexive pronoun (in this case, you) has already been used in the sentence. Since there is no you in the sentence prior to yourself, it's ungrammatical. Some native English speakers use yourself as a formal pronoun, to make them sound more educated (or at least what they think "educated" sounds like), but that's because they were taught wrong in school. Anglophone schools do not teach English grammar. – John Lawler Jul 18 '14 at 15:28
  • The subject of your sentence is I, not you. Your question is unclear. In any case, you have your answer. – anongoodnurse Jul 18 '14 at 15:40
  • @John Lawler I have probably always heard people using it to be more "educated" thank you for the answer. I thought maybe there was an exception since I've heard it used that way before. – Ella Jul 18 '14 at 15:46
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    @medica I'm sorry for the duplication. The answer on this post:english.stackexchange.com/questions/27101/… was confusing me. Thank you for the link to a better question. – Ella Jul 18 '14 at 16:03
  • Not a problem. :) – anongoodnurse Jul 18 '14 at 16:27

This is not a reflexive pronoun usage of 'yourself' ('Have you washed yourself?') Neither is it an emphatic usage ('You yourself should phone him') or (AHDEL)

1c. Used in an absolute construction: In office yourself, you helped push the bill along.

or this set expression (AHDEL)

  1. Your normal or healthy condition: Are you feeling yourself again?

RHK Websters identifies this particular usage/s:

  1. (used in place of you in various compound and comparative constructions): Ted and yourself have been elected; a girl no older than yourself.

I'd prefer it here; in normal conversation I believe it has the pragmatic advantage of not sounding too abrupt (I'd like both Bob and yourself to contribute a few pounds to the fund) or, as here, sounding rather matey (rather than highbrow; of course, tone makes all the difference). I'm surprised that a US dictionary (rather than say Collins) is the one to pick up on this usage.

  • Thank you your answer is very clear and informative. Tone really does make a difference in this case. – Ella Jul 18 '14 at 18:14

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