Two words that are routinely misused when the speaker/writer is trying to sound proper and sophisticated are “myself” and “whom.”
I don’t know, but I suspect the problem with “myself” has something to do with people trying to avoid saying “I” or “me.” Or, it could just be that "myself" sound more professional and sophisticated to some ears.
Whatever the reason, they use it far more often than they should – and in places where it doesn’t belong.
“Myself” is a reflexive pronoun. It’s always an object word, and when used properly it always refers back to the speaker/writer.
- “Speaking for myself, …”
- “I went shopping by myself.”
- “I often remind myself that …”
Unfortunately, some who are trying to sound proper say cringe-worthy things such as:
- “If you have questions, please call Jim or myself.”
- “Mary and myself will be available…”
- Even worse: “Myself and my friends stood out in the rain…” (This one, written by a 4th grade teacher, appeared in our local letters to the editor.)
This one is easy…
First, remember that you only use “myself” when you’re referring back to yourself. Then remember that “myself” is never, ever a subject word.
But if that doesn’t work, use the same rule that you’d use when deciding between I and me. Take the other person out of the sentence and see what word you’d use.
I seriously doubt that you’d say: “Myself will be available…,” (Unless you teach 4th grade in this small town), or “Please call myself.” You also wouldn’t say “Me hopes you’ll call soon,” Or “Please ask for I when you get here.”
Whom has always given me a bad time. I believe that whether grammar is easy or difficult all comes back to the words we heard as children. I was fortunate in that for the most part, my family used good grammar.
However, not with regard to the word “whom.” I can’t recall ever hearing it used, although it might have been. As a result, I never learned the proper use.
The rule is: Who is a subject word; whom is an object word.
I know it’s an object, but unless it is the direct object of a preposition, and especially if it is in an inverted sentence, I begin questioning myself.
To make it easier, I just ran across another rule that might help.
He = subject = who
Him = object = whom
Who/whom drove the car? He drove the car – so “who” is correct.
Who/whom should I vote for? Should I vote for him? “Whom” is correct.
If that’s all just too confusing, you could use the solution I use…
When I can’t decide which word is proper, I simply find another way to write the sentence and avoid the issue entirely.
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