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Misusing reflexive pronouns

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in Workplace Communication

Dear Administrative Professional Today:

What gives with everybody using the words “to myself” instead of “to me”? The administrative people around me always write things like: “Please send your response to my secretary or myself.” That makes no sense. But I see it everywhere, and it drives me crazy. Did someone make this grammatically correct and forget to tell me? Connie in Texas

Dear Connie:

The misusage that you point out is fairly common. But there are only two situations that legitimately allow for using “myself” and other compound personal pronouns (yourself, himself, etc.):

  1. For emphasis, as in “I mailed the letter myself, so I know it went out.”
  2. When you want to turn the action back on the subject, as in, “Peter convinced himself that the budget wouldn’t work.”

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