Episode 28

English with Kirsty – episode 28

Kirsty working with students

I’ll do it myself

In this episode, I talk about some of the mistakes that people make when they use the words “myself”, “me”, and “I”.

You can listen to episode 28 here:

The word “myself”, which is a reflexive pronoun, is often misused.

It can be used to highlight the fact that you did something on your own or that YOU did it, not someone else.

I baked the cake = a fact about who baked the cake.
I baked the cake myself = I’m proud of it. I didn’t have any help! I didn’t go to the shop and buy it.

I’ll do it = a fact
I’ll do it myself = either I want to prove that I can do it on my own, or, if said in an angry voice, I’m tired of asking you to help so I’ll do it on my own.

It’s also used in sentences where you did something to yourself:
I hurt myself = you did the action and you felt the result.
If someone else hurt you, you’d have to say
He/she hurt ME
because the sentence didn’t start with “I” and the other person was doing the action.

I’m proud of “myself”
My parents were proud of “me”.

He was talking to himself – he did the action and the person to whom he was talking was him – therefore he was talking to himself.

Sometimes, you would use the equivalent of “myself” in your native language, but it isn’t necessary in English. “To feel” is an example that often comes up with my German learners.

I feel tired (not I feel myself tired).
I feel happy (not I feel myself happy).

Most problems with this word seem to arise when other people are involved in the sentence. A helpful tip is to take away the other people and see whether the sentence still makes sense.

You can’t say:
Myself went on holiday
“me went on holiday”,
because this doesn’t make sense. It should be “I went on holiday”.
Therefore you can’t say “Myself and my boyfriend went on holiday” or “my boyfriend and myself went on holiday”. It has to be “My boyfriend and I went on holiday” or “I went on holiday with my boyfriend”.

Please book the tickets for my boss and ME.
You can’t say “for my boss and myself” because you are asking someone to do something and therefore they will be doing the action, not you.
You can’t say “for my boss and I” either, because “please book the tickets for I” doesn’t make sense.

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