By: Jane Bodell
Note to Self
Is it just myself, or is anyone else bothered by the following sentence? Please send an email to Jack, Jill, and myself when you have completed the training.
If you said, “Yes, and I think that first sentence is wrong too,” then you don’t have to read any more, unless you are of a curious nature and have some time to kill.
(Disclaimer: The names used in the sentence were changed to protect yours truly and not the guilty. Someday I will be able to disclose the errors of their ways, but not until I’ve won the lottery or retired, whichever comes first.)
Numerous times this sentence has crossed my inbox, and when it does, every fiber in my grammar-fixing finger tips wants to respond, “Why would I want to send a copy to myself?” I know I took the training. My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I don’t think I have to tell myself I just completed the training. I might remind myself to check it off my to-do list. I might even think to myself what a waste of time, but to send an email to myself? That’s ridiculous!
(Please note that I used the pronoun correctly in the previous sentences.)
Why Are You Scared of Me?
I must ask myself, why are people afraid to use me.
My conclusion is that it stems from your grade school teacher correcting you when you said me when you should have said I.
Example: Jack and me are good at grammar.
At this point your teacher would correct you: Jack and I are good at grammar. The I is part of the subject, and we all remember that the subject is responsible for the action. But when we apply this rule to other constructions it doesn’t work.
The example sentence in the opening paragraph, tries to use myself as an indirect object. An indirect object is when the action happens to or for something or someone.
Direct, Indirect, and To the Point
Example: Jill sent the email to Jack. (mail=direct object, Jack=indirect object because the action is happening to Jack)
Myself is a reflexive pronoun and cannot act as an indirect pronoun, and neither can I.
When the unenlightened writer comes to this fork in the road, he decides not to choose between I or me but creates a new path, myself.
Myself only should be used when you are doing the action to yourself. Got it?
Are You Talking to Me?
Just in case you didn’t, here’s an example:
I chastised myself when I sent the email to my manager explaining how to use “myself.”
I hope this brief but informative lesson is enough for you to stop using myself as an indirect object.
If you hear anyone using myself incorrectly in your next staff meeting or general conversation, I give you permission to, quietly but aloud, utter the word me.
This will at least ameliorate the stabbing offense to your ears and provide some satisfaction in having corrected the offender. Lastly, remind yourself to send an email with a link to this post to the above mentioned offender.
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