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Intensive Pronouns

What is an intensive pronoun?

An intensive pronoun is almost identical to a reflexive pronoun. It is defined as a pronoun that ends in self or selves and places emphasis on its antecedent. You can tell the difference between a reflexive pronoun and an intensive pronoun easily: Intensive pronouns aren’t essential to a sentence’s basic meaning. Understanding this basic difference will help to prevent you from confusing the two.

  • Himself
  • Herself
  • Yourself
  • Themselves
  • Ourselves

Intensive pronouns might not be necessary, but they serve the important function of making your writing more interesting as well as more meaningful, particularly in formal situations. Use them sparingly to ensure that the emphasis they provide isn’t lost.

Examples of Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns are used to add emphasis to statements. In the following examples, the intensive pronouns have been italicized for ease of identification.

Jesse wondered aloud whether he himself was the only one seeing what was happening.

Maria knew that she herself could make a positive impact on the world, if only she put her mind to it.

You yourself can easily transform your body: All it takes is a proper diet and plenty of exercise.

The team knew that they themselves were responsible for playing their best.

We ourselves are the ones who make the greatest impact upon the world we live in.