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  1. #1

    Hisself Or Himself

    why we can't say , usselves or theirselvse instead of themselves ourselves and himself?
    please I want an explaination.

  2. Key Member
    English Teacher
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    Re: Hisself Or Himself

    Many rules of English grammar defy logical explanations. The rules governing reflexive pronouns are in that group.

    myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, themselves

    NOT I-self or me-self; you-self; his-self, he-self or she-self; we-selves or us-selves, they-selves or their-selves.

    Looking for logical reasons to explain English grammar or spelling will just make you dizzy. Spend your time practicing.

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: Hisself Or Himself

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamyPink307
    why we can't say , usselves or theirselvse instead of themselves ourselves and himself? please I want an explaination.

    That's a really good question. The short answer is, all the 3rd person pronouns regularized.
    In Old English, reflexive pronouns were formed by adding a genitive pronoun to the noun self. (I'll use Modern English pronouns to demonstrate).

    genitive pronoun + self
    my + self
    our + selves
    your + self
    her + self
    his + self
    its + self
    their + selves

    The last three reflexive pronouns in that list changed in form by the time they made it to Modern English. The reason they changed had to do with another group of pronouns that existed in language, the dative pronouns (See below). Add a dative pronoun to the noun self and you get a whole new meaning: the ethical dative; e.g., my dog died on me; I need me a shovel, which expresses something like, and it's a loss that affects me' or more generally 'and I care', ' this concerns me, I'm involved.'
    Dative pronouns look like accusative or object pronouns: me, us, you, her, him, it, them:

    dative pronoun + self
    me + self
    us + selves
    you + self
    her + self
    him + self
    it + self
    them + selves

    Now, if you'll notice, the last four pronouns are identical in form to Modern English reflexive pronouns, herself, himself, itself, themselve(s). Moreover, they share something in common, they are all 3rd person forms. Speaking of having something in "common", if we look back at the genitive paradigm (See below), you'll notice that the 3rd person genitive reflexive form 'herself' shares the same form as the 3rd person ethical dative reflexive form. The two are identical:

    genitive pronoun + self compared with dative pronoun + self
    myself / meself
    ourselves / usself
    yourself / youself
    herself /herself
    hisself / himself
    itsself / itself
    theirselves / themselves

    All the 3rd person reflexive pronouns regularized in form:

    his self => him self
    its self => it self
    their selves => them selves

    The process is called "analogy" and it began with "herself". That word shared the same form in both paradigms, but the other 3rd person forms had different forms, so what the speakers did was regularize the paradigms. They made the pattern easier to remember and use.
    All the best.

  4. #4

    Talking Re: Hisself Or Himself

    I need it this answer.
    Thanks a lot.

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