Understanding Grammar: Reflexive Pronouns
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack finds a personality quiz in a magazine and finds out if Rich is a good person or not! The language focus is on reflexive pronouns. Your task is to answer the same questions as Rich does in the roleplay and to write a dilemma for other listeners to answer. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Understanding Grammar: Reflexive Pronouns
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: Don’t forget that we have our football English podcast called This Week that you can listen to at the start of every week. This week’s episode is about Matchweek 28 and we talk about Manchester City League Cup triumph and Liverpool losing their first Premier League match of the season.
Jack: Some of the words and phrases we look at include: silverware, to give a boost to something and discipline.
Rich: It’s on the Premier Skills English homepage, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and lots of other places right now!
Jack: In last week’s podcast, we spoke about confusing words. Do you know the difference between classic and classical or last and latest?
Rich: If you want to complete this lesson, you need to go to our homepage, click skills, click listen and click podcasts. It’s called Learning Vocabulary: Confusing words.
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, Jack finds a quiz in a magazine that tests whether you are a good person or not. It’s a kind of personality quiz.
Rich: And Jack tests me. I’m not a big fan of these types of things.
Jack: Our main language focus this week is on grammar. We’re going to take a look at reflexive pronouns. These are words like myself, yourself and ourselves - they can be difficult to use correctly sometimes.
Rich: Your task this week is to answer the same five questions from the personality quiz truthfully!
Jack: And we also want you to add an extra question in the comments section for all our listeners to answer.
Rich: Before all that though, we need to look at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Jack: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now. We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase. Well done if you got it right last week and congratulations to those of you who wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website or Apple Podcasts.
Rich: Liubomyr from Ukraine was the first with the correct answer last week. Well done, Liubomyr! We had lots of correct answers last week so a big well done to all these listeners too:
Jack: Marco Zapien and Mario from Mexico, Takuya from Japan Idzingirai from Zimbabwe, Wsanta from Argentina, Elghoul from Algeria, Ali Vasheghani from Iran, Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Jonathan714 form Hong Kong, Alex from Ukraine, Lakerwang from China, Thitipat from Thailand, and Milos from Serbia. And I want to thank Nuno from Portugal for writing and giving us some feedback about the volume levels on the podcast. We’re very sorry if the cheers sound effects have been too loud. I have turned them down a bit, but please do get in touch if you think anything is too loud in the future.
Rich: Right, remember you can write your answers on the comments section on the Premier Skills English website or the review section on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us. Let’s hear last week’s phrase again.
Jack: The football phrase is **** ** ****. This is an institution that honours or recognises people who have performed exceptionally well in their chosen career or field. They are often used in music and acting. The most famous is probably the rock and roll **** ** ****. The Premier League announced a Premier League **** ** **** last week. The players that enter the **** ** **** have to be retired and to have played in the Premier League.
Rich: We’ll give you the answer at the end of the show and we’ll have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, I’m looking at a magazine and I find a personality quiz called Are you a good person?
Rich: Jack decides to test me and find out how good a person I am.
Jack: I also change some of the questions to connect them to football.
Rich: While you are listening, we want you to answer two questions:
Jack: Do you think Rich is a good person?
Rich: And do you think Jack is a good person?
Jack: Keep it down. What’s up with you?
Rich: I’m not in a good mood. I’m late, the traffic was awful, and I think I might have hit something on my way to work.
Jack: Hit something? That’s awful.
Rich: It might have been a cat.
Jack: How do you not know? Didn’t you stop?
Rich: Like I said I was late. I had a look at the car when I got here. No damage. It was probably a rock.
Jack: No damage?! What about the cat?
Rich: It was probably a rock. You don’t look very busy.
Jack: I’m reading a quiz. It’s called Are you a good person?
Rich: A personality quiz? I hate them - they’re silly.
Jack: Some of the questions are about football …
Rich: Well if it’s about football …
Jack: Come on then we can do it together. I’ve got a pot of tea here …
Rich: Ooo! So they’re like dilemmas - moral problems and you have to choose one option. The thing you would do in that situation.
Jack: That’s right. Here’s the first. A player has hurt himself. He’s down injured. You have a chance to score. Do you stop and kick the ball out of play or do you try to score?
Rich: Well, that’s easy. You’ve got to score, haven’t you? You need to play to the whistle. It’s up to the referee to stop the game.
Jack: Really? That might be following the letter of the law but it’s not really fair play, is it? It’s not really in the spirit of the game. I’d kick the ball out.
Rich: Why? It’s not the end of the world. The player might be play-acting or time-wasting. I’d score and if the referee disallows it - fair enough.
Jack: Not sure you’re getting many points in the are you a good person quiz for that one. Here’s the second question or dilemma: You’re talking to someone at a party who is really boring. He says that he hasn’t got anyone else to talk to. You really want to talk to other people because you can see they are enjoying themselves. Do you A say you need the bathroom and leave him to talk to himself, B carry on talking or C yawn in his face and say that he is really boring?
Rich: Three options. Mmm ... I’m not sure. All right. I’m not going to yawn in the guy’s face - I’m not that bad, but I’d probably try to make my excuses. I’d probably say that I need to go to the bathroom and never return.
Jack: That’s still a bit mean, Rich. You could introduce him to some people at the party or find a shared interest. Maybe he’d be interested in Liverpool’s success in the 1980s. You’re always talking about some tedious fact from the 1984/85 season.
Rich: I thought you liked those facts. I thought you were learning something. I’m hurt, Jack. Not really - you know if the guy can’t take a hint …
Jack: Not good, Rich. Mean. Let’s try the next one. It’s back to football: You’re one on one with the goalkeeper. You can chip the goalkeeper and score or pass to a teammate to put the ball into the empty net. Do you A shoot yourself or B pass to your teammate?
Rich: Difficult. I’m not sure. I’d shoot myself.
Jack: That’s probably not necessary.
Rich: Eh? What are you talking about? Yes, I’d shoot.
Jack: That’s a bit greedy. What if the keeper saves it? I think you’re thinking about yourself. It’s a bit selfish. What about the team?
Rich: But what about the headlines the next day - Rich Moon’s beauty wins cup for the Reds.
Jack: OK, calm down. This is all hypothetical you know. Here’s the next quiz question: Your boss wants to give you a promotion for some good work you did. The only problem is that you didn’t do the work yourself - a colleague did most of it. Do you A take the credit yourself and accept the promotion or B do you mention your colleague and hope you still get the promotion?
Rich: I’m not sure. I don’t think you need to look at in that way. It’s not about taking the credit for yourself. I would just say nothing. It’s up to my colleague to speak for himself.
Jack: I think you need to take a good look at yourself. That is so selfish. You really aren’t a good person, are you?
Rich: What do you mean? I’m just saying don’t say anything. It’s not my fault if my boss takes it upon himself or herself to give me the credit for something.
Jack: Mmm. OK well it’s not what I would do. I’ve got one final quiz question for you. Let’s see if you can redeem yourself.
Rich: What do you mean? I’m not worried about redeeming myself.
Jack: Here’s the final question: You play for a small club but you are the star of the team. You get the chance to sign for Real Madrid and make yourself more money than you can ever dream of but you will never play for the first team. Do you sign for Real Madrid or stay where you are?
Rich: I sign for Real Madrid. It’s a no brainer - you need to look after number one. I’d want to look after myself first.
Jack: I know you have to look after yourself but you don’t have to be so greedy. If you were the star of a smaller team I’m sure the money would look after itself.
Rich: Maybe but if I wasn’t even playing I could just sit around and watch the money roll into my bank account.
Jack: What about the glory you were talking about earlier? I give up.
Rich: Did you got the answers to the two questions we gave you?
Jack: We asked you whether you thought we sounded like good people or not in the roleplay.
Rich: The answer, of course, is that I’m a very good person but I’m not sure about Jack.
Jack: Mmmm … well, we’re talking about the roleplay you just listened to and you sounded greedy and selfish - not a good person at all.
Rich: And Jack sounded reasonable, unselfish and kind in the roleplay but you have to decide for yourselves what we are like in real life!
Jack: You have to decide for yourselves. Yourselves is an example of a reflexive pronoun and that is what we’re going to focus on in this our language focus.
Rich: A reflexive pronoun is a word that ends in -self like myself, yourself or herself.
Jack: Or when we are using the plural form it ends in -selves with a ‘v’ like themselves, ourselves or yourselves.
Rich: There are nine reflexive pronouns in total. They are myself, yourself, herself, himself, oneself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves.
Jack: OK - here’s the rule: We use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object in a sentence are the same.
Rich: He hurt himself. When the player fell over, he hurt himself quite badly. The player is the subject and the object of the verb hurt.
Jack: We used quite a few examples in the roleplay. Let’s look at a couple of examples where we used the reflexive pronoun ‘myself’.
Rich: When I spoke about moving to Madrid I said ‘I’d want to look after myself’ and when deciding to shoot or pass I said ‘I’d shoot myself.’
Jack: In both of these examples the subject and the object is the same. The subject is ‘I’ and the object is ‘myself’. The reflexive pronoun is the object in both of these sentences. ‘I’d want to look after myself’ and ‘I’d shoot myself’.
Rich: In the second example ‘I’d shoot myself’ the reflexive pronoun is being used to add emphasis to the subject. We’re emphasising that it’s me that would shoot not someone else.
Jack: So we use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object is the same. We can say things like ‘I want to do it myself’ and ‘I can drive myself to the match’.
Rich: Listen to some more examples of reflexive pronouns. We’ll give you an example of each reflexive pronoun. What’s the subject and the object each time? And which reflexive pronouns are being used for emphasis? You can take these out of the sentence and it still makes sense.
Jack: I’m hungry. I think I’ll make myself a sandwich.
Rich: You have to believe in yourself when you take a penalty.
Jack: She hurt herself when she fell off the horse.
Rich: I think he had a great time at the match. He really seemed to enjoy himself.
Jack: I didn’t touch the computer! It just started doing strange things by itself. It’s got a mind of its own.
Rich: The players have got to look at themselves after that performance. They’ve got to play better than that next week.
Jack: Boys! Look at yourselves in the mirror! You’re filthy!
Rich: OK, so that’s a little look at reflexive pronouns. There were lots of reflexive pronouns in the roleplay so you may want to listen to that part of the podcast again to hear them again.
Jack: Or take a look at the extra examples and activities we have on the Premier Skills English website. For this lesson you need to go to skills>listen>podcasts> understanding grammar: reflexive pronouns.
Jack: Your task this week is to do the same quiz I gave Rich in the roleplay and to write one other question for all our listeners.
Rich: Let’s give our listeners those five questions or dilemmas again. Dilemma number one: A player has hurt himself. He’s down injured. You have a chance to score. Do you stop and kick the ball out or do you try to score?
Jack: Question number two: You’re talking to someone at a party who is really boring. He says that he hasn’t got anyone else to talk to. You really want to talk to other people because you can see they are enjoying themselves. Do you A say you need the bathroom and leave him to talk to himself, B carry on talking or C yawn in his face and say that he is really boring
Rich: Question number three: You’re one on one with the goalkeeper. You can chip the goalkeeper and score or pass to a teammate to put the ball into the empty net. Do you A shoot yourself or B pass to your teammate?
Jack: Question number four: Your boss wants to give you a promotion for some good work you did. The only problem is that you didn’t do the work yourself - a colleague did most of it. Do you A take the credit yourself and accept the promotion or B do you mention your colleague and hope you still get the promotion?
Rich: Questin number five: Your boss wants to give you a promotion for some good work you did. The only problem is that you didn’t do the work yourself - a colleague did most of it. Do you A take the credit yourself and accept the promotion or B do you mention your colleague and hope you still get the promotion?
Jack: Answer all or some of the questions as truthfully as you can and then write one question or dilemma to ask other listeners to the podcast.
Rich: Your dilemma could be about football or something else but try not t make it to serious!
Jack: Write all your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website or on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Rich: It’s your turn with this week’s football phrase, Jack.
Jack: This week’s phrase is just a word. The word is ********* and it basically means a match is arranged to be played at a later date. A match can be ********* because of bad weather or if one team has to play in a cup competition.
Rich: I hate it when matches are ********* especially if it’s the other team that has a cup match!
Jack: Before we leave you we also need to tell you last week’s football phrase. The answer was hall of fame.
Rich: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Jack: If you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the podcast or anything football or English related, you can leave them on the website in the comments section, on social media, on apple podcasts or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some idioms and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
You’ve got to score, haven’t you? You need to play to the whistle. It’s up to the referee to stop the game.
That might be following the letter of the law but it’s not really fair play, is it?
The player might be play-acting or time-wasting.
I’m not going to yawn in the guy’s face - I’m not that bad, but I’d probably try to make my excuses.
You’re always talking about some tedious fact from the 1984/85 season.
It’s not about taking the credit for yourself. I would just say nothing.
I know you have to look after yourself but you don’t have to be so greedy.
All of these phrases were in the roleplay. Listen to the roleplay again and read the transcript. Listen for the phrases in bold. If you're not sure what they mean, have a go at the activity below or ask us a question in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
A reflexive pronoun is a word that ends in -self or -selves when the reflective pronoun is in the plural form. When we use a reflexive pronoun we need to make sure that it matches the subject pronoun you use in the same sentence e.g. I > Myself, We > Ourselves or She > Herself. Look at the table below if you are not sure which reflexive pronoun refers to which subject pronoun:
|Subject Pronoun||Object Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun|
We use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object in a sentence are the same. Look at this example:
He hurt himself. When the player fell over, he hurt himself quite badly.
The player is the subject (he) and the object (himself) of the verb hurt. The reflexive pronoun refers to the subject and is necessary for the sentence to make sense. Whenever there is a reflexive pronoun in a sentence there must be a subject for that pronoun to refer to. Here are some similar examples:
I think he had a great time at the match. He really seemed to enjoy himself.
The players have got to look at themselves after that performance.
You have to decide for yourselves.
Reflexive pronouns for emphasis (Intensive Pronouns)
Reflexive pronouns are also used to add extra emphasis to a sentence. When they are used in this way they are sometimes also called intensive pronouns. As they are only adding emphasis they are not usually necessary for the sentence to make sense.
I’m hungry. I think I’ll make myself a sandwich.
The only problem is that you didn’t do the work yourself - a colleague did most of it.
I’m not sure. I think I’d shoot myself.
Your task this week is to say what you would do in each of the five dilemmas we spoke about in this week's roleplay and then to write a new dilemma for all of our listeners.
- Write your answers to any of the dilemmas that were mentioned in the roleplay.
- Write a new dilemma for other listeners (this can be football-related or on a different topic).
- Read and answer dilemmas from other listeners.
Write all your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!