Why do so many intelligent, well-spoken people have such a propensity to misuse the word "myself?"
I see it in blogs, in advertisements, in emails, and on web pages. And few days ago I was horrified to find this error in an email from a copywriter. If anyone should know better, it's a person who earns her living writing for other people!
She wrote: "I want to personally invite you to join myself and (name of friend), for a special webinar…"
“Myself” is not a subject word and it’s not an object word. "Myself" is a reflexive pronoun, which means you ONLY use it when you’re referring back to yourself as the subject of a sentence.
· I went to a movie by myself.
· I enjoy spending time by myself.
· I can entertain myself for hours with a good book.
· I speak only for myself when I say…
It is always incorrect to use “myself” as a subject or object, and yet… people do this ALL the time when they add another person to the mix. For instance:
· Please join Joe and myself.
· Please call Sally or myself.
· Harry and myself will be looking forward to hearing from you.
You can see how ridiculous it sounds when you take that other person away…
· Please join myself.
· Please call myself.
· Myself will be looking forward to hearing from you.
If they wrote any of those things, surely they'd see that it was wrong. Wouldn't they??
Did you catch the other glaring errors in that copywriter’s message?
The first one rates right up there with the one I used to hear in high school: “Me and Sally are going to the movies.”
1. She put herself ahead of her partner. While proper grammar says pronouns come ahead of nouns in a list, when the pronoun is “I” or “me” the rules of etiquette trump the rules of grammar. You always say “Harry and I” if you’re the subject or “Harry and me” if you’re the object.
2. She began her message with the words "I want." One of the "rules" of copywriting is that you must never, ever, begin your message with "I" - and especially "I want" - because your reader just doesn't care what you want. They care about what THEY want, so your introductory sentence needs to appeal to their self-interest.
I almost sent a note to that copywriter, asking her if someone else wrote her promotion. But I didn't. If she is who she claims to be, she knows that the message was a huge fail, and it might take her some time to live it down.