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I heard an actor in a TV series say this:

He showed me myself (or to myself)

Is this slang or correct?

(He was shown a letter by his father earlier that day.)

If any of this is correct, please explain why! I have learned that you can only use a reflexive pronoun with the subject of the sentence. The word "me" is the object here, isn't it?

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  • I'm afraid it's not clear what the actor actually said. Is the "or to myself" part of what he said? Certainly "He showed me myself" is correct, but it may mean a couple of things, depending on context. Please clarify to show exactly what you are asking about.
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 24, 2018 at 13:56
  • He showed me myself. He was shown a letter or something. Feb 24, 2018 at 19:02
  • Why is this correct? "Me" is the object as a personal pronoun , isn´t it? Feb 24, 2018 at 19:03
  • Thanks.Do you know any link concerning this topic? I have worked through 4 grammar books in my life (for advanced learners) and never read anything about this at all. Feb 25, 2018 at 2:31
  • Related: Why is “herself” required in this particular sentence? ...the answers seem kind of messy and confusing, though.
    – herisson
    Feb 25, 2018 at 4:52

1 Answer 1

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Yes, it’s “correct”.

(And by the way, slang does not mean “incorrect”. It’s a specific sort of casual vocabulary or expression, not incorrect grammar.)

He showed me myself.

Here me is the indirect object and myself the direct object. It wouldn’t sound right to say to use me for both direct and indirect or prepositional as in "He showed me me" or "He showed me to me", so one of those two got swapped to myself.

It’s not quite true that you can only use a -self pronoun when the subject and object refer to the same person or thing. For one thing, the -self forms are also used emphatically, as in "I myself called the sheriff."

So you could think of this as a form of emphasis to distinguish the two pronouns so it doesn’t sound clunky. All these variants would be understandable in a way that the doubled me version would not:

  • He showed me myself.
  • He showed me to myself.
  • He showed myself to me.
  • He showed me my own self.
  • He showed me to my own self.

Those all pretty much the same thing.

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  • Wow, this is really complicated. I tried to understand but I still failed. What if said: He showed me himself. I am not a native speaker. I do understand the emphasizing by using the reflexive pronoun as in " I met the king himself" or your example with the sheriff but not this one....! Feb 25, 2018 at 3:44
  • @MarcinNowak "He showed me himself" could mean "He himself showed me (something)" or it could mean "He showed himself to me". In speech, intonation would make clear which of those was meant but the second would be unusual.
    – tchrist
    Feb 25, 2018 at 3:53
  • That makes sense, but I still don´t understand why you would say "me me". I should mean his father showed the letter to him. Did I get the meaning wrong? Feb 25, 2018 at 4:03
  • I looked up the direct and indirect object as well as the prepositional one. My mother tongue is German, and we don´t have these terms when it comes to objects. We define by case only. I could rephrase my question by saying " what´s the point in knowing about these different object types" other than identifying parts of a sentence( here and in general)? I can´t understand the importance here. I feel stupid .... Feb 25, 2018 at 4:30
  • @MarcinNowak Indirect object is dative, direct object is accusative. I’m sure you would have no problem with having both kinds of object in the same utterance like Er hat mir den Schlüssel gezeigt in German, right? I don’t know German well enough to say whether Er hat mir selbst gezeigt or Er hat mir mich gezeigt (that doesn't look right) or some such makes any sense; I suspect that you would have as much trouble pairing mich and mir in the same utterance as you (or anyone really; it's a weird thing) are having with both of me and me/myself appearing together as distinct objects.
    – tchrist
    Feb 25, 2018 at 16:21

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