Reflexive verbs

Reflexive verbs simply are verbs whose direct objects are the same as their subject. And today we are going to discuss them.

You can also read: English Verbs

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 PronounReflexive Pronoun
you (singular)yourself
you (plural)yourselves

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.

For example:

  • 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.

By Superingenious

I help students who are preparing for their international test or the once are looking to improve their English skills. So I help students learn English, get better scores on their tests, and prepare for the future.

Related Posts

The Future Perfect Guide

The Future Perfect Guide

The Past Perfect Guide

The Past Perfect Guide

The Present Perfect Guide

The Present Perfect Guide

Master The Perfect Tenses

Master The Perfect Tenses

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense