What are emphatic pronouns?
Emphatic pronouns are pronouns that are used to emphasize or amplify a noun or a pronoun in a phrase. They are also known as intensive pronouns. These pronouns are created by prefixing some personal pronouns with “-self” when singular , or “-selves” when in plural.
Emphatic language sort of makes nouns and pronouns ‘important’ in English grammar. This is by adding emphasis and intensity to them. They help in emphasizing the subject or object of a sentence, making them more relevant and important. Finally, they are often employed to highlight a point, provide more weight to a sentence, or convey strong emotions.
Types of emphatic pronouns
There are 5 types of emphatic pronouns that we are going to talk about in this section. They include:
Personal Emphatic Pronouns:
Personal emphatic pronouns are formed by adding “-self” when singular, or “-selves” when in plural, to certain personal pronouns. They are used to emphasize and intensify the subject of a sentence.
Some example include:
- I myself will take care of it.
- You yourself can solve the problem.
- He himself admitted his mistake.
- She herself completed the task.
- They themselves organized the event.
Reflexive Emphatic Pronouns:
Reflective emphatic pronouns are those that refer back to the subject of a sentence and then emphasize the action or state of the subject.
The examples include:
- I saw myself in the mirror.
- You should believe in yourself.
- They blamed themselves for the failure.
- We enjoyed ourselves at the party.
Reciprocal Emphatic Pronouns:
They are used to indicate a mutual or reciprocal action between two or more subjects.
- They love each other deeply.
- We often help one another.
- The teams competed against each other fiercely.
- The siblings always support one another.
- The friends understand one another’s problems.
Demonstrative Emphatic Pronouns:
Demonstrative emphatic pronouns are used to emphasize or/and draw attention to a specific noun or pronoun in a sentence.
- This itself is a remarkable achievement.
- That is the problem itself.
- These are the very books I was looking for.
- Those themselves are the culprits.
- Such is life itself.
Indefinite Emphatic Pronouns:
Indefinite emphatic pronouns are used to emphasize an indefinite or unspecified noun or pronoun in a sentence.
- Everyone should take care of themselves.
- Somebody himself broke the vase.
- Nobody else could have done it.
- Anything itself can be a source of inspiration.
- All of them agreed on the decision.
How to Use Emphatic Pronouns
Sometimes it may be hard to determine how to use emphatic pronouns correctly. Therefore, the following is a guide on how to use emphatic pronouns effectively:
Emphasis and Intensification
You should use an emphatic pronoun to emphasize or intensify a noun or pronoun in a sentence.
For example: She herself solved the difficult math problem.
Contrast and Comparison
Secondly, you can use an emphatic pronoun to create a contrast and make a comparison between two subjects.
Example: John painted the room, but Mary painted it herself.
Agreement and Confirmation
Lastly, use an emphatic pronoun to express agreement or confirm a statement.
Example: Yes, I did it myself.
A step-by-step guide to using emphatic pronouns
Step 1: Emphasis and Intensification
Use an emphatic pronoun to emphasize or intensify a noun or pronoun.
I myself completed the entire project.
Step 2: Contrast and Comparison
Use an emphatic pronoun to create a contrast or make a comparison.
She fixed the issue herself, unlike the others.
Step 3: Agreement and Confirmation
Use an emphatic pronoun to express agreement or confirm a statement.
Yes, I did touch it with my own hands.
Step 4: Reflexive Actions
Use a reflexive emphatic pronoun to indicate an action directed back to the subject.
They blamed themselves for the mistake.
Step 5: Reciprocal Actions
Use a reciprocal emphatic pronoun to indicate mutual or reciprocal actions.
The teams competed against each other fiercely.
Step 6: Demonstrating Specificity
Use a demonstrative emphatic pronoun to emphasize a specific noun or pronoun.
That itself is the problem with these people.
Step 7: Indefinite Emphasis
Use an indefinite emphatic pronoun to emphasize an indefinite or unspecified noun or pronoun.
Someone themselves left their belongings behind.
Common Mistakes with Emphatic Pronouns
Just like any other subject in English grammar, emphatic pronouns also have some common mistakes that most people make. They include:
Using Emphatic Pronouns with Non-Emphatic Verbs:
You should never use emphatic pronouns with non-emphatic verbs. For example:
- Mistake: He himself did the laundry.
- Correction: He did the laundry himself.
Misplacing Emphatic Pronouns in Sentences:
Always avoid misplacing emphatic pronouns in sentences. For instance:
- Mistake: Myself, I will take care of the situation.
- Correction: I myself will take care of the situation.
Overusing Emphatic Pronouns:
Overusing the emphatic pronouns in any sentence is not okay. For example:
- Mistake: They themselves, themselves, organized the event.
- Correction: They themselves organized the event.
- Emphatic pronouns are used to emphasize or amplify a noun or pronoun in a phrase, adding emphasis and intensity to them.
- There are five types of emphatic pronouns: personal, reflexive, reciprocal, demonstrative, and indefinite.
- Personal emphatic pronouns emphasize the subject of a sentence, while reflexive emphatic pronouns refer back to the subject and emphasize the action or state.
- Reciprocal emphatic pronouns indicate mutual or reciprocal actions between two or more subjects.
- Demonstrative emphatic pronouns are used to emphasize or draw attention to a specific noun or pronoun.
- Indefinite emphatic pronouns emphasize an indefinite or unspecified noun or pronoun.
- Emphatic pronouns can be used for emphasis and intensification, contrast and comparison, and agreement and confirmation.
- Common mistakes include using emphatic pronouns with non-emphatic verbs, misplacing emphatic pronouns in sentences, and overusing them.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and object in a sentence refer to the same entity. They indicate that the action reflects back to the subject. Emphatic pronouns, on the other hand, are used to emphasize or intensify a noun or pronoun in a sentence.
- Example of reflexive pronoun: She hurt herself while playing.
- Example of emphatic pronoun: She herself solved the problem.
Emphatic pronouns are usually placed immediately after the noun or pronoun they emphasize. They are created by prefixing some personal pronouns with “-self” (singular) or “-selves” (plural).
Example: I myself will take care of it.
Emphatic pronouns are not necessary for basic grammatical structure, but they are used to add emphasis, intensify a statement, or highlight the importance of a subject or object in a sentence.
The purpose of using emphatic pronouns is to draw attention, emphasize a point, or express strong feelings. They help to add emphasis, intensity, or importance to a particular word or phrase in a sentence.
Emphatic pronouns and intensive pronouns refer to the same type of pronouns. The two terms don’t really differ from one another.
While it is possible to use more than one emphatic pronoun in a sentence, it is generally not common or necessary. Using multiple emphatic pronouns can make the sentence sound awkward or redundant. It is advisable to use them sparingly and effectively for emphasis.
Yes, there are exercises and activities that can help you practice and understand emphatic pronouns better. One example is to create sentences where you emphasize different subjects or objects using emphatic pronouns. Another exercise is to rewrite sentences by replacing the emphatic pronouns with regular pronouns to observe the change in emphasis. You can also find worksheets or activities online, such as the one provided by Edulyte, to practice using emphatic pronouns.