I was writing in MS Word 2003, and it put a green underline under the word myself, as used below.

Don’t trust people, even myself, trust the code.

I ran the spell and grammar check, but it completed without any errors or suggestions.

If I change the sentence by adding "you should" after the comma, the problem goes away.

Don’t trust people, even myself, you should trust the code.

But that is not the preferred phrasing. What, if any, problems exist?

p.s. The closest I could find to this issue is Microsoft word and confusion about himself/he/him, but it does not help explain why I am right or wrong.

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    Quoting from the very question you linked to: "This is a good example of why you should turn off the so-called 'grammar checker' on MSWord". There is absolutely no reason or excuse for anyone to use it. It does not know the first thing about English grammar. Conversely, you had a firm grasp of English grammar long before you even knew the words "grammar" or "Microsoft" existed. This tool should be your slave, not the other way round. Why use it against your own best judgment? It just wasted a considerable chunk of your precious lifetime with this question alone. It eats your life away. – RegDwigнt Jan 9 '15 at 14:55
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    Don’t trust people, even myself ; trust the code. -- Do all problems go away now? Let us know. (Check your grammar.) – Kris Jan 9 '15 at 14:58
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    @RegDwigнt: I dunno. This might be one of those occasions where dumb software actually got it right. Since I would say "Don't trust me" rather than "Don't trust myself" (as an imperative with implied subject "You"), it seems to me it would be more correct to say "Don’t trust people, even me". – FumbleFingers Jan 9 '15 at 15:02
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    The commas are at best highly confusing, at worst enough to make the sentence complete gibberish. After reading the sentence four times, I still had no idea what you were trying to say. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 9 '15 at 15:11
  • Can anything that reports suspected sentence fragments with the phrase, "Fragment, consider revising" be trusted? – Jon Hanna Jan 9 '15 at 15:39

I'd agree with @RegDwigнt in that you should just write what you feel is the best way to say what you intend. That said, it's probably picking up on the fact that you say myself without referencing I. In theory, it wants you to write, "Don't trust people, even me, trust the code."

As a sidenote: You have two separate clauses there: "don't trust people" and "trust the code". Rather than using the comma to separate them, personally I'd use a semicolon.

Don't trust people, even me/myself; trust the code.

Edit: I see the comments beat me to the semicolon lol.

  • yes the semicolon does "fix" the issue. – Jason Pyeron Jan 9 '15 at 15:56
  • This makes sense, it turns out if I right click the word, it suggests "I" as a replacement. – Jason Pyeron Jan 9 '15 at 16:05
  • I will use "Don’t trust people, even me; trust the code." – Jason Pyeron Jan 9 '15 at 16:06

Using that reflexive pronoun is incorrect. The implied subject (as FumbleFingers's comment says) in the imperative clause Don't trust people is in the 2nd person you, so for an object pronoun you should prefer using the non-reflexive version me:

Don’t trust people, even me, trust the code.

You'd use the reflexive pronoun when referring to the subject:

Don’t trust people, even yourself, trust the code.

Curiously trying it out in MS Word underlines both myself and yourself. I guess we can't have everything

  • This is a very good explanation on the reflexive pronoun issue. – Jason Pyeron Jan 9 '15 at 16:05
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    I took it as emphatic myself, rather than reflexive myself. But I think me is better. – Colin Fine Jan 9 '15 at 17:56
  • @JasonPyeron Not really! See Colin's note comment. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 13 '15 at 16:58
  • @Araucaria There's not enough context to make it emphatic. True, it could be interpreted that way, but (to me at least) it looks a lot more like an erroneous reflexive – blgt Jan 13 '15 at 17:13

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