Three Grammar Gaffs and How to Avoid Them


Many writers, when faced with “Louise and I, or Louise and me?” opt for “Louise and myself.”

The “-self” pronouns have their place, but this is not one of them. Myself, himself, herself, ourselves, and themselves always need something more specific in the sentence to refer to. In the sentence “Louise and myself,” “myself” has nothing to refer to. It’s an orphan.

You can use a “-self” pronoun for emphasis:

I myself have no fears; he himself is full of fear; she herself has over one hundred pairs of shoes; we ourselves have no shoes; they themselves have no qualms, but notice that there’s always I or he or she or we or they that this use of “-self” is bolstering.

Or you can use a “-self” pronoun as another way of referring to someone:

I cut myself; he itched himself; she made herself up; we congratulated ourselves; they laughed themselves silly, but again, there’s always I or he or she or we or they that the use of “-self” refers to.

The solution? Give “myself” a relation to pair up with, and determine whether you should be using “I” or “me” with the separation trick: “Bob and I love sweets” (Bob loves sweets; me loves sweets? No; I love sweets? Yes. Therefore, Bob and I love sweets) or “Nothing could stop Nasser and me” (Nothing could stop Nasser; Nothing could stop I? No; Nothing could stop me? Yes. Therefore, Nothing could stop Nasser and me).

Phew! Another grammatical minefield crossed safely! And I myself am glad it’s done.