Emphatic Pronouns

An emphatic pronoun is used to refer back to the Noun or Pronoun used as a Subject in the sentence to emphasize it. It explains that the action done by the Subject or herein known as the Antecedent is without any other help taken.

e.g.: I myself sought the confirmation from the Chairman. (I trusted no one else, did it all by myself)

A. Though similar to Reflexive Pronouns in two Cardinal points:

1. In the usage of myself,ourselves, themselves, itself, himself, herself, yourself, yourselves.

E.g.: I cut myself while cooking. (When the subject itself becomes the object , it is an example of Reflexive Pronoun)

He himself did all the cooking. (This is an example of emphatic pronoun wherein the word himself puts double insistence on the part that he did the cooking)

2. Both Reflexive and Emphatic Pronouns cannot be used as the Subject in a sentence.

In the case of Reflexive Pronoun, it becomes the object while in the case of Emphatic Pronoun, the word is placed immediately after the Noun/ Pronoun to which it refers to, for emphasis.

e.g. : I myself finished the job. (I is the subject whereas the Emphatic Pronoun just emphasized that I did it.

The child hurt herself. (The Child is the subject and use of herself, i.e. Reflexive Pronoun, means she happens to be the victim or object too)


More examples of Emphatic Pronouns which is never used as Subject in a sentence.

i. You yourself must complete the homework.

ii. He himself broke the promise.

iii. The building itself is very wobbly.

iv. They themselves confessed to the crime.

B. However Emphatic Pronouns differ from Reflexive Pronouns in many key areas:

1. Unlike Reflexive Pronouns in which Subject and Object is one and the same and Reflexive Pronoun helps to reflect that fact. Any omission may lead to gross confusion. Emphatic Pronouns do not however make for the Object in a sentence. They are only meant to emphasize and hence even if they are omitted the sense of the sentence would still remain same to a large extent.

e.g.: I looked at myself in the mirror. (Reflexive Pronoun. Remove myself and one is left baffled)

myself cleaned the mirror (Emphatic Pronoun. Remove it and still it makes perfect sense)


2.  When the action has an effect on the verb it becomes Reflexive Pronoun.

E.g.: She burnt herself while cooking.


The Pronoun is Emphatic if it is just an insistence that the Subject itself is the doer of the action.

e.g.: I myself cooked lunch for 30 people.


So, we see that an Emphatic Pronoun is basically, on a latent level offering confirmation, clarification or insistence on the veracity of the action.


i. I myself finished the pending assignment. (Clarification to my Mentor’s doubt on my competence)

ii. The Minister himself made the announcement yesterday.(Doubt on the authenticity of the notification)

iii. The Prisoner himself confessed to the crime. (Quite Unexpected)

iv. She herself overcame her stage fright.  (Impressive behavior)

v. You yourself are to be blamed for this. (Double Insistence)

English Grammar and Composition

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