9

If a pronoun is in object position in a sentence, you don't normally use the reflexive form of the pronoun -

Sally bought a ticket for him.

unless the subject and object of the sentence are the same -

John bought a ticket for himself.

What happens in the case where there are multiple pronouns in object position, and the subject is a subset of the object? Which of the following is correct?

John bought tickets for me and him.

John bought tickets for me and himself.

  • 1
    The 'rule' is by no means without exception: 'John had his new dressing gown wrapped around him.' 'This soup has a fly in it.' With your examples, I'd say (1) Neither is incorrect per se. (2) Which sounds better depends on context. I'd use 'John said that it would be better for me and him if we didn't stay too long.' but 'At the station, John bought tickets for me and himself.' ... (3) The 'reflexive' pronoun is also used as an emphatic; this may be used to add emphasis (!), or purely because the non-emphatic pronoun sounds rather weak. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '16 at 9:31
  • Your 3rd example with non-reflexive "him" is called the 'basic' or 'default' form. But 'override' is available here, so reflexive "himself' can be used instead; indeed it may be the best form to avoid any possible ambiguity about the antecedent, since "John" is the only possible antecedent of "himself. – BillJ Aug 19 '16 at 13:36
10
+100

If I were the writer, I'd say

John bought the tickets for himself and me

The reflexive pronoun is better placed after the subject and the verb phrase. Otherwise an even easier workaround would be:

John bought tickets for (the) both of us.

It looks neater and there is no ambiguity.

P.S credit and my thanks to @deadrat who pointed out a discrepancy with the wording

  • 4
    In slightly different circumstances one might say John bought tickets for myself and Jane (or Jane and myself - the sequence is just a stylistic choice). And although no-one would countenance ...for I and Jane, not many people would seriously argue with any of ...for Jane and I, ...for Jane and me, ...for me and Jane. In case you weren't familiar with it, there's also the even shorter alternative ...for us both (same construction as ...for them all, etc.). – FumbleFingers Dec 12 '16 at 19:02

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