Reflexive Pronouns- Self Help

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of misused reflexive pronouns and I guess the think that I find most bothersome is that the users are under the impression that they are being fancy and correct.  I and myself are being used when a simple little old me fits perfectly.  I worked with a woman who would routinely close her emails with the tagline:  “Please feel free to contact myself with any questions.”  She routinely instructed me to reach out to her “because that project is on Taylor and I’s plate.”  We will overlook the ridiculous middle-management double-speak ‘plate’ analogy and focus on how uneducated she sounded.  It is one thing when you write it, but when you actually speak it and hear your voice saying it and do not understand how clunky and wrong it sounds, that is another.  Someone finally had to tell her that irregardless is not a word.  Anyway, long story short; be mindful of the reflexive pronoun, someone could be silently judging your intelligence.

“A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.”Edgar Allan Poe

Now, let’s get into it.  A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that is preceded by the noun, adjective, adverb or pronoun to which it refers (its antecedent) within the same clause. In generative grammar, a reflexive pronoun is an anaphor that must be bound by its antecedent. In some languages, there is a difference between reflexive and non-reflexive pronouns; but the exact conditions that determine whether or not something be bound are not yet well defined and depend on the language in question. It depends on the part of the sentence containing the pronoun.

In English, the function of a reflexive pronoun is among the meanings of the words myself, yourself, thyself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, ourself (as majestic plural), yourselves, and themselves. In the statements “I see him” and “She sees you”, the objects are not the same persons as the subjects, and regular pronouns are used. However, when the person being seen is the same as the person who is seeing, the reflexive pronoun is used: “I see myself” or “She sees herself”.

Me vs Myself

Me, myself, and I may refer to the same person, but they are not interchangeable. Myself should be the one you hear the least, but it’s often used incorrectly in place of me.

Me

Me is an object pronoun, which means that it refers to the person that the action of a verb is being done to, or to which a preposition refers.

  • They want me to study more.
  • Tell me a story.
  • Between you and me, he’s right.
  • Carol wants to meet with John and me tomorrow.
  • The book was written entirely by me.
  • Please call Hillary or me with any questions.

Myself

Myself is a reflexive or stressed pronoun, which means that, generally speaking, it should be used in conjunction with the subject pronoun I, not instead of the object pronoun me.

  • I bought myself a car.
  • I myself started the company.
  • I did the laundry by myself.
  • I feel like myself again.
  • Tired of waiting, I just did it myself.

The Bottom Line

Myself can be used for stress, but most grammarians won’t allow it to be used alone – they reject constructions like “Carol wants to meet with John and myself” (correct: with John and me”) and “The book was written entirely by myself” (correct: by me personally).

Just remember that myself can be reflexive (I’m doing something to/for myself) or emphatic (I myself). Otherwise, you probably want to use me.

Please Wear Sunblock – Self Help

I am trying to think of something that looks good orange and wrinkled, but am drawing a complete blank.  Wait, what color are thousand dollar bills?  So I guess there is nothing that looks good orange and wrinkled.  One or the other, sure!  Who doesn’t love a tangerine or a casual Sunday in unironed khakis?  Get in the habit of always wearing sunblock when you leave the house.  Find a moisturizer that contains some amount of sunblock for daily use and if you know you are going to be in a lot of sunshine, have some extra sunblock with a higher SPF that you can add.  Keep some in your car.  Wear a hat.  It is never too late to start for yourself and never too early to start for your kids.

Otherwise, this man could be your future:

This man is 69 years old.

He drove a truck for 28 years.

The premature aging from sun damage to the left side of his face is extensive enough to warrant a feature in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Trucker or not, don’t forget your sunscreen.

A 69-year-old man presented with a 25-year history of gradual, asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face. The physical examination showed hyperkeratosis with accentuated ridging, multiple open comedones, and areas of nodular elastosis. Histopathological analysis showed an accumulation of elastolytic material in the dermis and the formation of milia within the vellus hair follicles. Findings were consistent with the Favre–Racouchot syndrome of photodamaged skin, known as dermatoheliosis. The patient reported that he had driven a delivery truck for 28 years. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers. This photoaging effect of UVA is contrasted with photocarcinogenesis. Although exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is linked to a higher rate of photocarcinogenesis, UVA has also been shown to induce substantial DNA mutations and direct toxicity, leading to the formation of skin cancer. The use of sun protection and topical retinoids and periodic monitoring for skin cancer were recommended for the patient.

Jennifer R.S. Gordon, M.D.
Joaquin C. Brieva, M.D.
Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

 

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Nora Ephron – Self Help

This list kills me, reminds me. focuses me, shuts me up, angers me, softens me, and inspires me to grab life and wring every last drop out of it.  It forces me to look at the time I have wasted and vow to never waste any more.  I love Nora Ephron for so many reasons, but this list is what I think about most when I think about her:

nora

The great Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71, following a battle with leukemia that began in 2006. She had many strings to her bow, but most notably wrote the screenplays to some of the best loved films ever to grace the big screen, many of which she also directed and produced. She wrote the following lists — of things she won’t and will miss — in 2010 and used them to close her book, I Remember Nothing.

(Source: “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections” by Nora Ephron)

What I Won’t Miss

  • Dry skin
  • Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
  • E-mail
  • Technology in general
  • My closet
  • Washing my hair
  • Bras
  • Funerals
  • Illness everywhere
  • Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
  • Polls
  • Fox TV
  • The collapse of the dollar
  • Bar mitzvahs
  • Mammograms
  • Dead flowers
  • The sound of the vacuum cleaner
  • Bills
  • E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
  • Small print
  • Panels on Women in Film
  • Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss

  • My kids
  • Nick
  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Waffles
  • The concept of waffles
  • Bacon
  • A walk in the park
  • The idea of a walk in the park
  • The park
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • The bed
  • Reading in bed
  • Fireworks
  • Laughs
  • The view out the window
  • Twinkle lights
  • Butter
  • Dinner at home just the two of us
  • Dinner with friends
  • Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
  • Paris
  • Next year in Istanbul
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Christmas tree
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • One for the table
  • The dogwood
  • Taking a bath
  • Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
  • Pie

 

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Words To Live By – Ms. Taylor

Words from a woman who LIVED/LOVED/LAUGHED the hell out of life. You should do it too, in your own way.

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” – Elizabeth Taylor

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Take Your Own Advice

I wrote this last year and it works for me, maybe it will work for you too?  I think about it from time to time and even just typing little notes on my phone and saving them for later seems to work for me.

Advice From Yourself

For this exercise, you are going to need a piece of paper, a pen, and some free time to think. You will need the free time first, I suggest you noodle on it while you are doing your daily thirty minutes of cardio. (You are doing thirty minutes of cardio every day, aren’t you? I’m not interested in your excuses.) Ask yourself this question:

If you could use a time machine just once to travel back and tell yourself one sentence, what age would you travel back to and what would you say?

If we had a month to go back in time and be the guidance counselors to our younger versions, I would let you write paragraphs with bullet points. I would let you outline a schedule of future events and how you should handle them. You only have a couple minutes to give yourself one sentence of advice and it should be in the form of advice. I am the first to admit that if I could, I would go back to 1985 and whisper in my ear to buy Microsoft stock when it goes public, but that really isn’t what this exercise is about.

Mine would be 14 years old and I would say “Hi, I’m you in the future, I came back to tell you that there is an amazing life for you with limitless possibilities out there, you just need to be fearless and know that you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.”

Now that you have had time to think about it and come up with one sentence that you would want to tell the younger you, write it down on a piece of paper. I know one sentence is hard no one is going to make you diagram it if it turns out to be a bit of a run on, but try to keep it to one sentence.

You are all ready to go back in time, you have your one sentence script, you know exactly what you want to tell yourself. Go to your bathroom mirror. Read the sentence.

You can’t go back in time, but it is never too late. Life has not passed you by, it may be passing you by, it it is never too late. If you went back in time and whispered to yourself to become a teen pop star, that may not have been the best use of your one trip in a time machine, but you can still adapt it to your life today. Take singing lessons, surround yourself with kids, take hip hop dance lessons. It is never too late for hip hop dance lessons.

My guess is that most of you gave yourself advice similar to mine, to stand up, stand out, not be afraid of going after your dreams, grasp for the brass ring, to love hard and fearlessly, and to wring every ounce of juice out of life.

Tape that piece of paper to your bathroom mirror, read it every morning and honor that younger you by making up for lost time. You can’t go back in time, but it’s never too late.

Know Jack – Words To Live By

It is easy to say, difficult to try, and very hard to recognize in others, but it can be done, horizons can expand, thoughts can evolve, as long as there is life, there is potential for growth.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” – Jack Kerouac

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A Message For Mankind – Words To Live By

This speech is as amazing today as it was 70+ years ago.  Read, listen, watch it if you get a chance.  

A Message for Mankind: Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech, Remixed

“We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery.”

From the remix artist Alan Watts :  “A Message for Mankind” — a stirring mashup of Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech from The Great Dictator and scenes of humanity’s most tragic and most hopeful moments in recent history, spanning everything from space exploration to the Occupy protests, with an appropriately epic score by Hans Zimmer.

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!