Let’s play with another old bugaboo today. This one’s related to the “between you and …” confusion I dealt with pretty extensively in a previous entry. This time, though, I want to address the tendency to use “myself” where “me” is the logical spot. How shall I put this simply? . . . You should not!

The gaffe to which I’m referring is the use of this reflexive pronoun where it just doesn’t need to be. For example, folks nowadays may refer to their own opinions this way:

“As for myself, I prefer spicy foods.”

It’s perfectly fine to use “me” in these cases; in fact, it’s more properly correct:

“As for me, I prefer spicy foods.”

(You could also say: “Personally, I prefer spicy foods.” A real stickler might point out the redundancy of saying “as for me” or “personally” . . . and then “I.” We’ll let that one go for now. . . .)

Where it really gets crazy, though, is when we’re speaking about what we did along with someone else:

“The work crew consisted of Dave, George and myself.”

BZZT! There’s nothing wrong with using “me” here: “The work crew consisted of Dave, George and me.”

 

There are places for the reflexive pronoun “myself,” and some pretty good ones:

“I did the job all by myself.”

“Mommy, I cleaned up my room, all by myself!” (This one is rarely heard from anyone over the age of about 9, but . . . .)

In both cases, you’re emphasizing the action as self-created or imposed, using “myself” to indicate self-reliance. (Think of it this way: When you add someone to the activity, “myself” sort of becomes overshadowed by the “us” involved.)

 

See how easy that is? Now go forth, and do likewise! (Or comment and tell me what else I missed this time.)

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