5

I need some help with you/yourself because I'm sure I misuse it all the time. Here's an example sentence:

What is a nice, smart girl like you/yourself hanging around a group of kids like them for?

Other parts of it might be incorrect, but I'm mainly focused on the you/yourself aspect.

3

Yourself is a reflexive pronoun.

Examples

Look at yourself!

You always compare yourself to others.

In other words it is normally the object of a verb and usually refers to something you do to yourself.

The difference comes when the action is done by a different person, e.g.

You would not say to someone, "I need a word with yourself." (not in standard English anyway)

Therefore in standard English you say:

What is a nice, smart girl like you hanging around a group of kids like them for?

However in some versions of English that 'rule' is not true. In Ireland for example it is very common to hear something like "How's yourself?" in place of "How are you?" or even "I need a word with yourself."

So, it's a judgement call and it depends whether you are Irish or not!

EDIT

I just noticed that the answer is in your sentence.

What is a nice, smart girl like you hanging around a group of kids like them for?

versus

What is a nice, smart girl like yourself hanging around a group of kids like themselves for?

All you have to do is be consistent. Which version do you choose?

0

You use yourself as the object to refer to the second person (you) when the subject already contains the second person (you).

Examples:

  • You see yourself as an artist.
  • Consider yourself lucky.

Imperatives always have the implied subject, you.

Based on that information, the following sentence would be the better choice:

What is a nice, smart girl like you hanging around them for?

  • Thanks Octopus and chasly. Question: what if the subject is multiple people? Yourselves would be used if that was the correct word choice I assume, but what if it's supposed to be you? Can "you" be used to refer to multiple people? Or would it need to be something like "you all"? I'm pretty sure I hear "you" used when referring to multiple people in casual/everyday speech, but I don't know if that's correct grammatically-speaking. – Sinow Oct 24 '15 at 3:28

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