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  1. #1
    ongetz's Avatar
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    Question What should I use?reflexive pronoun (themselves) or personal object pronoun(them)?

    Kindly help me to answer all my confusions with these sentences:
    1. The Eskimos wear animal fur to protect them against the cold weather.
    2. They should wear lead shields and follow recommended safety guideline to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure.
    Here are my questions:
    a. In No. 1, Can i use the reflexive pronoun themselves instead of them? or Can I use both?
    b. Aren't No. 1 & 2 the same??why are they different??Why is No. 1 "to protect them" and No. 2 "to protect themselves"? Which one is correct and which one is wrong?
    c. I found No. 1 sentence in the book and No. 2 in an Expert-made test for English teachers..Could you pls. give me a clear explanation to these?

    thank you so much!!Hope to receive more explanations from all of you

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    Re: What should I use?reflexive pronoun (themselves) or personal object pronoun(them)

    Hi ongetz

    In these contexts, you can use either themselves or its shorter form them:

    1. The Eskimos wear animal fur to protect them(selves) against the cold weather.

    2. They should wear lead shields and follow recommended safety guideline to protect them(selves) from unnecessary exposure.

    In the context below, however, you have to use them, not themselves:

    3. Clean your ears to protect themselves.
    4. Clean your ears to protect them.


  3. #3
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    Post Re: What should I use?reflexive pronoun (themselves) or personal object pronoun(them)

    Thanks for that answer! but I guess them can never be the shorter form of themselves because they're two different words with different functions as well. Themselves is a reflexive pronoun while them is a personal object pronoun.. If you don't mind, Could you pls. give me more concrete explanations??pls..... These sentences were taken from a very reliable source of English test..I think they could not just make mistakes for writing these sentences..I think there is something behind these sentces that need to be discovered..

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    Re: What should I use?reflexive pronoun (themselves) or personal object pronoun(them)

    Quote Originally Posted by ongetz View Post
    Kindly help me to answer all my confusions with these sentences:
    1. The Eskimos wear animal fur to protect them against the cold weather.The focus is on animal fur that protects them.
    2. They should wear lead shields and follow recommended safety guideline to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure. The focus is on what they should do (wear) to protect themselves.
    Here are my questions:
    a. In No. 1, Can i use the reflexive pronoun themselves instead of them? or Can I use both? You can use either in first sentence depending on what you want to emphasize. See my comments above in green.
    But be careful in second sentence. I suggest you should not use "them" there. See my comments below in red.
    b. Aren't No. 1 & 2 the same??why are they different??Why is No. 1 "to protect them" and No. 2 "to protect themselves"? Which one is correct and which one is wrong? In second sentence you had better use "themselves" which refers back to the subject of the sentence.
    See that:
    They should wear lead shields and follow recommended safety guideline to protect them. To protect what? Shields and safety guideline? "Them" might bring nothing but confusion.


    thank you so much!!Hope to receive more explanations from all of you
    Does it make sense?
    Last edited by banderas; 02-May-2008 at 02:05. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    ongetz's Avatar
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    Question Re: What should I use?reflexive pronoun (themselves) or personal object pronoun(them)

    'The Eskimos wear animal fur to protect them against the cold weather.'
    Above sentence, 'them' means 'the eskimos'. However, why should we use pronoun them, not reflexive pronoun 'themselves'?
    Is it impossible to use themselves instead of them?If we answer this kind of question in a test, how can we know if what do they mean if it can mean in two ways??I mean, if we can use either themselves or them..

    Why can't we use them in the second sentence??THEM is a personal pronoun which is the object form of they.Isn't it???Second sentence refers back to the subject but does the first sentence don't??It is also referring the subject which is Eskimos..right?

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    Re: What should I use?reflexive pronoun (themselves) or personal object pronoun(them)

    Quote Originally Posted by ongetz View Post
    'The Eskimos wear animal fur to protect them against the cold weather.'
    Above sentence, 'them' means 'the eskimos'. However, why should we use pronoun them, not reflexive pronoun 'themselves'? Should we? You can use either. .
    Is it impossible to use themselves instead of them?If we answer this kind of question in a test, how can we know if what do they mean if it can mean in two ways??I mean, if we can use either themselves or them..I do think that, in a test, you would be given "them" and "themselves" to choose in a sentence like yours.

    Why can't we use them in the second sentence??
    I suggested you'd better use "themselves". As long as the subject (Eskimos) and the object (themselves) are the same you can use reflexive pronoun.
    THEM is a personal pronoun which is the object form of they and the object of the verb "protect".
    j
    Last edited by banderas; 02-May-2008 at 05:05.

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