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Ourself Vs. Ourselves: Which Should You Use In Writing?

Ourself Vs. Ourselves: Which Should You Use In Writing?

What word would you use to explain a situation where a group in which you are a part completes an assignment on time without assistance? Would you use ourself or ourselves? You have come to the right place, and we will compare "ourself vs. ourselves" to help you know the right answer.

Authors used "ourself" in prehistoric times to refer to themselves as a first-person plural. This word is the reflexive of "we" because it refers to singular persons. In contrast, "ourselves" is a reflexive pronoun for a group (including the speaker) or an emphatic pronoun that intensifies a subject.

Comprehending the differences between similar words like "ourself" and "ourselves" can be confusing. The primary concern with these words is whether they are grammatically correct or can be used alternatively. Read on to clearly understand the differences between "ourself" and "ourselves" and how you can use them.

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Definitions Of Ourself And Ourselves

The definitions for these words are not as straightforward because they are pronouns and not typical words (verbs, nouns, adjectives, verbs). Thus, they do not have multiple meanings, even though their applications may differ. Regardless, below are the definitions you need to know.

Definition Of Ourself

The word "ourself" was primarily used in ancient times when individuals used to refer to themselves as "we" instead of "I."

This word was prevalent among members of royal families and prominent individuals. Authors also used "ourself" to distinguish themselves from other media personalities.

Definition Of Ourselves

"Ourselves" is a stressed form of the first person plural (we) pronoun. The word is used as a subject combined with "we."

For example, "We will ourselves visit the facility and write a review." Also, it is applicable alone in the predicate, normative, or objective applications. For example, "We opted to exclude ourselves from the race after the racist remarks from the organizers."

How To Properly Use Ourself And Ourselves In A Sentence

Using these words is easy because they do not have complex meanings. Also, these words are pronouns, and pronouns often do not have other word forms like adjectives, verbs, past or present tenses, or nouns. Use the following guidelines on their proper usage.

How To Use "Ourself"

The use of the word "ourself" has declined significantly in recent times. This is because as the English language progressed, people started focusing more on correct grammar instead of using pronouns to symbolize authority or as a distinguishing element. For this reason, you will rarely hear people using this word in recent times.

However, you can still use this word in contexts where you want to use the subjective pronoun "we" to address an infinite group of people, including yourself as a speaker.

For instance, in a sentence, "We cannot sit back and pat ourself on the back for the good work we achieved with this project." You can also use "ourself" when addressing people in general instead of a specific group. For instance, "We should love ourself as an empowered nation."

Additionally, you can use this word when referring to each individual in a group independently. For example, "We cannot become better individuals if we do not work on ourself at a personal level."

How To Use "Ourselves"

The word "ourselves" is a reflexive pronoun that you can use when the subject and object in a sentence both refer to the first-person plural subject "we." A pronoun is used in place of a noun, while a reflexive pronoun is used when the pronoun is the subject and object of a sentence.

Thus, this word can be used as a direct or indirect object. For example, "We must prepare to defend ourselves after that massive scandal."

When using ourselves as a direct object, you should place it after a verb in your sentence. For example, "We should purposely avail ourselves for the meeting."

When using ourselves as an indirect object, it should show the one who receives the direct object, and it should go before the direct object. For instance, "We taught ourselves dribbling."

Also, you can use ourselves as the object of a preposition. Here, this word should come after the preposition in your sentence. For example, "We need to protect the planet from ourselves."

You can also use this word as a subject complement. Here, the subject complement is used after linking verbs in a sentence. For example, "This result is enough to rest ourselves."

"Ourselves" is also an emphatic pronoun. Therefore, you can use it to emphasize the doer of the action in a sentence. Hence, it should come at the end of a sentence or after the subject. For instance, "My mum always insisted that we need to be there ourselves when assigning tasks."

Examples Of Ourself And Ourselves Use In Sentences

While "ourself" is not as popular as "ourselves," understanding how to use both words in sentences is worthwhile. Below are some examples to help you understand the words better and inspire you to use them in conversations and writing.

Example sentences of "ourself"

  1. As a Christian, I believe that we ought to love our neighbor as we love ourself.
  2. The studies showed that we make ourself ill because of exposure to pollution.
  3. We find the best solutions for problems when we analyze ourself and embrace honesty about our mistakes. 
  4. We have established ourself as the leading tech company in Staten Island. 
  5. This information will help us liberate ourself from the captivity in our workplaces. 

Example sentences of "ourselves"

  1. This meeting will give us a chance to defend ourselves at length.
  2. We can handle this task ourselves and save the money we would use to hire assistance.
  3. My mother insisted that we attend the meeting ourselves and share our views on the subject.
  4. After two years of social isolation and mass panic from the pandemic, we finally feel like ourselves.
  5. We need to finish the assignment ourselves to earn full grades.

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What Is The Difference Between "Ourself" And "Ourselves"?

"Ourself" is a reflexive pronoun used if the subject of a sentence is essentially singular despite the application of "we" (a plural subjective pronoun).

For instance, "spending time on ourself will help us develop self-awareness." In contrast, "ourselves" is a reflexive pronoun used when a speaker considers himself or a group of people as the subject of a sentence. In a sentence, "We talked about ourselves the entire morning."

Another difference between these words is that "ourself" is an ancient word, while "ourselves" is used in modern English.

Which Is Grammatically Correct: Ourself Or Ourselves?

Traditionally, "ourself" was considered grammatically correct, and many people used it, especially the elite. However, in modern English, "ourself" is not considered grammatically correct or recognized by English dictionaries.

It is because using "our," a first-person plural pronoun, with "self," a singular noun, opposes basic grammar rules. Nevertheless, despite not being grammatically correct, some people still use this word when referring to a singular subject in a group.

In contrast, "ourself" is a grammatically correct reflexive pronoun for "we." For example, "We spent hours by ourselves working from home." It is also applicable as an emphatic pronoun that emphasizes a plural subject. For example, "We will ourselves visit the station to see the impact of the explosion."

Conclusion

If you understand the basic English grammatical rules, you know that "ourself" is an incorrect alteration of "ourselves." However, these words can be confusing because some people still use "ourself." Both words are reflexive pronouns. Share your thoughts on whether you think people should still be allowed to use "ourself.