Emphatic Pronouns – Examples & Rules

Pronouns have different forms and classifications. They all are words that replace nouns to avoid repetition. But each part of pronouns has different usage and purpose.

Emphatic pronouns are one such classification of pronouns. Emphatic pronouns are very similar to reflexive pronouns. They both refer back to the noun or the subject of a sentence and indicate that the noun is doing something to or by itself.

However, emphatic pronouns slightly differ from reflexive pronouns regarding the context they are used in and what they really convey. So let us get into a detailed discussion and try to understand them better.

What are emphatic pronouns?

Emphatic pronouns are pronouns that refer back to the subject in a sentence, which shows an action taken by or for itself and lay emphasis on it. In simple words, these are words that emphasize the subject doing something all by itself or doing it to itself and that there is no effect on others.

We see that they are similar to reflexive pronouns. We can say these are just reflexive pronouns used with different intentions.

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

Let us understand with some examples;

  • He did it all by himself.
  • She herself told me to do it.
  • You yourself need to go and check.
  • The teacher himself told us to sit according to our roll numbers.

Here, we can see that the emphatic pronouns are emphasizing on the fact that the subject did something on its own or to itself.

How is it different from reflexive pronoun?

So we have noticed that emphatic pronouns and reflexive pronouns are the same. But as mentioned earlier, they differ because of their intentions.

Reflexive pronouns are words used to refer back to the subject and indicate that the object and the subject are the same in a sentence. They can be either direct or indirect objects of prepositions. Their main aim lies in the verb. For example;

  • He hurt himself while cutting the woods.
  • She always brings herself some flowers from the garden.

Here, reflexive pronouns are simply acting as direct and indirect objects.

While emphatic pronouns are used when we refer back to the subject and lay emphasis on it. Here, the main aim is not the verb but the subject. Emphatic pronouns strongly indicate that the noun did something by itself. For example;

  • He himself cut his fingers.
  • She herself brought all the books from the staffroom.

We can see that the emphatic nouns are primarily focusing on the subject and not the verb.

Usage of emphatic pronouns

Emphatic pronouns can be used in different sentences. They can be both plural and singular based on the personal pronoun or noun accompanying them.

Singular emphatic pronouns:

  • He – himself
  • She – herself
  • You – yourself
  • It – itself

Plural emphatic pronouns:

  • They – themselves
  • We – ourselves
  • You – yourselves

Emphatic pronouns are usually used immediately after the noun/pronoun. And sometimes at the end of the sentence to intensify the impact on them. This is also how one can easily differentiate emphatic pronouns from reflexive pronouns.

These are the points that can help understand emphatic pronouns better. It is very easy to confuse the difference between reflexive and emphatic pronouns, but remembering the above-mentioned points will definitely help.

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