What Are Emphatic Pronouns? (with Examples)

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What Are Emphatic Pronouns? (with Examples)

The emphatic pronouns are myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.

These words can be either emphatic pronouns or reflexive pronouns.

This page is about their use as emphatic pronouns.

The Use of Emphatic Pronouns

An emphatic pronoun refers back to another noun (or pronoun) in the sentence to emphasize it. For example:
  • The Queen herself attended the party.
  • (The Queen is the noun being emphasized. It is called the antecedent of the emphatic pronoun.)
When used for emphasis, a word like herself is called an emphatic pronoun.

Examples of Emphatic Pronouns

Here are some more examples of emphatic pronouns:
  • She will do it herself.
  • (The emphatic pronoun herself emphasizes that she will do it. The waiter won't do it. Her husband won't do it. Her son won't do it. SHE will do it.)
  • The scouts cooked these cakes themselves.
  • (The emphatic pronoun themselves emphasizes that the scouts cooked the cakes, i.e., not their mothers.)
  • I heard the lie myself.
  • (The emphatic pronoun myself emphasizes that I heard the lie.)
Note: It's not always about people:
  • The cat opened the door itself.
You can test if it's an emphatic pronoun by removing it and seeing if you get the same effect by emphasizing the thing you're trying to emphasize with your voice (shown here in uppercase).
  • SHE will do it.
  • I  heard the lie.
  • THE CAT opened the door.

See also: reflexive pronouns

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