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When is it correct to use “yourself” and “myself” (versus “you” and “me”)?

In one of my older questions I asked for an explanation of the difference between “people like you” and “people like yourself”, where it's clear that yourself can stand instead of you in such sentence.

What bothers me more is another, more difficult situation:

Let's define the correct sentence:

My mother and I were standing at the bus stop.

Now, in the above sentence, can I emphasize my own person by doing the following?

My mother and myself were standing at the bus stop.

Also, trying with another sentence, but a bit difference:

They saw my mother and me standing at the bus stop.

Can I do the same with this sentence too?

They saw my mother and myself standing at the bus stop.

If both of the above situations are correct, that means that myself can be used instead of both me and I, thus becoming ambiguous?


2 Answers 2


Myself is a reflexive pronoun, that is, it is used to reflect the action expressed by the verb back on to the subject, as in I hurt myself. Reflexive pronouns are also used for emphasis, as in I did it myself. However, there seems to be a tendency to use reflexive pronouns simply as alternatives to personal pronouns, as in your examples. Here’s what ‘The Cambridge Guide to English Usage’ has to say about it, when used in object position:

People sometimes replace [me] with myself, as if to avoid putting the spotlight directly on themselves . . . There is no need to do this. In fact we draw less attention to ourselves by using the ordinary me.

Nevertheless, this use of the reflexive pronoun seems to be increasing, both in subject and object position. Conservative speakers and writers may want to avoid it until its use is more established, if it ever is.


I don't think you can say My mother and myself were standing on the bus stop.

I think you can infer from that that myself only works as an object pronoun. Of course, all it takes is a good counter-example to prove me wrong, but until then, the answer to your question is No.

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