10/03/2017 6:23 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2017 3:37 PM IST

We're All Using The Word 'Myself' Wrongly. Here's How To Fix That

As a sports reporter, you hear it all the time. A sentence that goes a little like this:


You hear similar sentences in other contexts too. For example:

"For people like myself, it's becoming increasingly impossible to afford a home."

People often use the word "myself" because it seems egotistical to say "me". Sportspeople do this all the time, in an attempt to downplay the focus on themselves. But it's gramatically wrong, and here's why.

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"It's been a pretty average year for myself but that will all change when I become the lawn bowls champ I've always dreamed of being."

The word "myself" is what's called a reflexive pronoun. OH GOD, GRAMMAR JARGON!!!

Don't panic. This simply means that "myself" is a word which reflects on something you did to yourself, or for yourself. So it's not a substitute for a regular old pronoun like "I" or "me". It's an add-on.


See the trick? To use the word "myself" right, you just need the word "I" or "me" operating as the subject (the thing or person the sentence is about) somewhere else in the sentence.

Sometimes, the word "myself" is also used for emphasis, or to put particular stress on a point.

For example, you might say:

"I, myself, prefer olives to capers".

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The author of this story is obsessed with cricket, grammar and pickles. He has few friends.

But the trick still applies. You've gotta have the "I". Imagine the above sentence without it and you'll see what we mean.

So that's that. To recap: "Myself" is NEVER a substitute for the word "me". You can't say: "Stop bugging myself with all this grammar, HuffPost!".

But you can say "stop bugging me!". Which we will, shortly.

You can delve a lot deeper into this whole "me" versus "myself" thing, by understanding the murky world of subjects and objects in sentences. There's a pretty good explanation of all that here.

But like we said, "me" is not a dirty word. And if all you sportspeople out there can't handle that, think of it this way: you can't spell the word "team" without "me".