Reflexive verbs simply are verbs whose direct objects are the same as their subject. And today we are going to discuss them.
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What are Reflexive verbs?
Reflexive verb is a transitive verb used with a reflexive pronoun to indicate that the object is the same as the subject.
I hurt myself. (hurt = Reflexive verb)
So What is the reflexive pronoun?
Reflexive pronouns are the reflexive counterparts of personal pronouns. Here is a list of reflexive pronouns.
|Personal Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun|
More about Reflexive pronouns
Reflexive pronouns are used:
– when the speaker or writer is referring to an action that he or she has caused to happen and of which he or she is also the object.
- I cut myself with the carving knife.
- Sometimes I just don’t like myself very much.
– when the direct object or prepositional object of a sentence has the same reference as the subject.
- John looked at himself.
- John taught himself to play the guitar.
Some verbs take a reflexive pronoun only in particular uses of the verb.
- Jeremy introduced himself.
- The cat washed itself.
You can leave out the reflexive pronoun if it is obvious that the subject was performing the action of the verb on him- or herself.
- Jeremy washed and dressed, then went out.
When a preposition is followed by a pronoun, the pronoun is normally in the object form.
- They all looked at him in silence.
If that pronoun refers to the subject of the main verb, however, it must be a reflexive pronoun.
- She looked at herself in the mirror.
The reflexive can be used to make something you say stronger. To make a strong point, we sometimes use a normal subject or object pronoun and a reflexive pronoun as well.
- He told me himself that he was leaving.
- I’ll do it myself.
The reflexive can also be used with or without by meaning ‘alone’ or ‘without help’. I think you should try and do it yourself.
- Did she do that all by herself?
More About Reflexive verbs
There are only a few verbs in English that are true reflexive verbs (the combination of a verb and a reflexive pronoun). A true reflexive verb is one that must be used together with a reflexive pronoun to have meaning. The verb cannot be used with a noun or pronoun object other than the reflexive pronoun.
- I perjure myself.
- we perjure ourselves.
- you perjure yourself.
- you perjure yourselves.
- he perjures himself.
- they perjure themselves.
- she perjures herself.
Other true reflexive verbs are absent oneself and bestir oneself. These verbs are always used with a reflexive pronoun.
Other verbs that are not true reflexive verbs can be used with reflexive pronouns as a replacement for a direct or indirect object noun or pronoun.
Similar to true reflexive verbs, these verbs do not have complete meaning unless they are followed by a direct object or a reflexive pronoun:
- I enjoyed the party.
- I enjoyed myself. (direct object)
- She considered him lucky.
- She considered herself lucky. (direct object)
You cannot merely say, “I enjoyed” or “She considered lucky.” An object or reflexive pronoun is required with such verbs.