What are Intensive Pronouns

What are Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns are pronouns that are used to put emphasis on a noun or another pronoun. Intensive pronouns are also known as emphatic pronouns. Intensive pronouns end in –self or –selves and places emphasis on its antecedent. Intensive pronouns are almost identical to reflexive pronouns. Their difference lies in the function; intensive pronouns are used solely to add emphasis. They are not essential to the meaning of a sentence.

Myself

Ourselves

Yourself

Yourselves

Himself

Herself

Itself

Themselves

Examples of Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns are used to introduce emphasis to a sentence. They can be generally found right after the noun or pronoun they are modifying. In the following sentences, the intensive pronouns are underlined for the ease of identification.

I myself was the only one who knew what really happened on that fateful day.

The queen herself introduced her to the prince.

The king himself got down from the carriage and helped the driver.

I witnessed the accident myself.

The children made these scones themselves.

The world itself is a stage where people are mere puppets.

He baked a cake himself since he wanted to impress everyone.

The mayor himself invited them to the party.

I myself don’t believe in all these superstitions.

The best way to identify an intensive pronoun is to remove the pronoun from the sentence. The sentence would still make sense even if the intensive pronoun is removed.

I saw her myself.

I saw her.

What are Intensive Pronouns

I myself made these doughnuts. Please have some.

Intensive Pronouns vs Reflexive Pronouns

Some people have trouble identifying the difference between intensive pronouns and reflexive pronouns.  The main difference between them is in their function. Reflexive pronouns are used in a sentence when the subject and the object refer to the same thing. But intensive pronouns are used in a sentence merely add emphasis. In addition, reflexive pronouns are essential to the meaning of a sentence whereas intensive pronouns are not.

For example,

I myself helped her to call the police.

If we remove ‘myself’ the sentence still makes sense. I helped her to call the police.

I don’t trust myself to do it right.

If we remove ‘myself’ the sentence would not make any sense. It is incomplete. I don’t trust … to do it right.

Intensive Pronouns – Summary

  • An intensive pronoun refers back to another noun or pronoun in a sentence to emphasize it.
  • Intensive pronouns are also known as emphatic pronouns.
  • Myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves are the eight intensive pronouns.
  • Intensive pronouns differ from reflexive pronouns based on their function.
  • Intensive pronouns are not essential to the meaning of a sentence.
  • The easiest way to identify intensive pronouns is removing the pronoun from the sentence; if the sentence still makes sense, the pronoun is an intensive pronoun.

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