Hi. I came across this sentence in a book and my student pointed out that it seems wrong - "Professor Gardner, Professor Robert Ornstein, myself and others became aware..." Somehow, the use and placing of "myself" is incorrect. Does the word "others" affect the structure? What do you think?
Yes it's incorrect but it's not because of the word "others". Throw the profs and the others out and you get "Myself became aware ..." this is incorrect thus the original is incorrect. I should be
A) "Professor Gardner, Professor Robert Ornstein, I and others became aware..." or
B) "Professor Gardner, Professor Robert Ornstein, others and I became aware..."
Choose B over A not as a matter of grammar but courtisy. The word "myself" is not used as the subject or part thereof, at least not correctly.
Maybe it's stress. In the "correct" version, "I" is such a small word, the meaning might be missed.
What's wrong with using "myself" as an emphatic form of "I"? So what if it violates some artificial rule some grammarian invented?
Jim -- I just checked and the usage you labeled as incorrect is presented in my Random House Webster's Dictionary under one of the meanings of "myself".
4. (used in place of I or ME in various compound and comparative constructions): My wife and myself agree. He knows as much about the case as myself. No one is more to blame than myself.
I can even think of a Polish equivalent that's used in exactly the same manner. Normally you say "ja" for "I", but in these sentences you could say "ja sam" for emphasis. For example:
Profesor Gardner, Profesor Robert Ornstein i ja sam dowiedzielismy sie..."
Throw out the profs and it's incorrect:
"Ja sam dowiedzialem sie..." WRONG
Yeah, it's the old descriptive verses prescriptive grammar dilema. So, what I should say is something like this. People often use the word "myself" in this way but, personally, it makes me cringe, regardless of what Webster thinks.
I wouldn't have used "myself" in those two examples, Tom.
"My wife and myself agree."
"He knows as much about the case as myself."
"No one is more to blame than myself."
Here's how I'd say them in my daily life:
1) "My wife and I disagree." (Correct grammar)
2) "He knows as much about the case as I do." (Also, correct grammar...I'd include the "do" after "I"....to not do so would sound a bit stuffy, in my opinion).
3) "No one is more to blame than me." (I suppose it's grammatically incorrect, but to use "I" would sound a bit stuffy....on a written essay I'd probably use "I").
I think the sentence is correct. You only say "I" if it the last person in the lst of people that you have written. (I think). You say "John, Craig, Michael and I........" But you would also say "John, Craig, myself and Michael........" I could be wrong, but I think I'm right. You wouldn't say "John, Craig, I and Michael......"
"My wife and myself" is incorrect.
"My wife and I" is correct.
But "My wife, myself and my cousin" is correct.
I don't believe than it has to do with where it is in the list. What those grammarians who "invented" these "artificial" rules is this. If the list forms the subject of the clause (sentence, phrase, question, etc.), use "I". If it's the object, use "me".
"You wouldn't say 'John, Craig, I and Michael......'" unless you wanted to snub Michael by implying that you were high enough above him to warrent his coming after you in your list.
As I've said, Tom, those sentences irk me. But you say they are used for emphasis. I don't find them any more emphatic than the versions those pedantic grammarians would insist on.
A-) "My wife and myself agree."
A+) "My wife and I agree."
B-) "He knows as much about the case as myself."
B+) "He knows as much about the case as I (do)."
C-) "No one is more to blame than myself."
C+) "No one is more to blame than I (am)."
No, they just seem uneducated, irksome and/or careless no more emphatic.
The Collins COBUILD Dictionary confirms my opinion:
You use myself to emphasize a first person singular subject. In more formal English, myself is sometimes used instead of `me' as the object of a verb or preposition, for emphasis.
I myself enjoy cinema, poetry, eating out and long walks.
I'm fond of cake myself.
He was roughly the same age as myself.
...a complete beginner like myself.
Another quote, from Swan's "Practical English Usage":
Reflexives are often used instead of personal pronouns after as, like, but (for), and except (for).
These shoes are specially designed for heavy runners like yourself. (or ... like you.)
Everybody was early except myself. (or ... except me.)
Reflexives can also be used instead of personal pronouns in co-ordinated noun phrases.
There will be four of us at dinner: Rober, Allison, Jenny, and myself. (or ... and I/me.)
Jim, you are irked by these sentences, I am irked by prescriptivists.
Thank God there are useful, descriptive resources like Swan's book which have no ambition of educating the masses on how the English language "should" be spoken.
Well it all depends, doesn't it? Your new sentences, for some reason, don't seem so irksome. Moreover, I can sense an emphasis there too.
I can understand your being irked by prescriptivism, so am I. I'm not advocating prescriptivism. In the end there is not right or wrong answer. There can be no grounds for extreme prescriptivism.
So, yes, I was not quite correct in labling those sentences as "incorrect". Being in a hurry I had not thought to note the fact that this idea of correctness is rather arbitary and prescriptivist. Yes, I acknowledge the fact that the word "myself" is commonly used in this way. It's common use is a fair grounds for calling it correct.
However, you'd still agree with me on the point that I made that the choice between "I" and "myself" is independant of the inclusion of the word "others" in the list, wouldn't you? Also my other point that, grammatically speaking, the choice is independant of the order of the list, would you agree with that too?
Yeah, I think you can use either "I" or "myself" in these two sentences:
"Professor Gardner, Professor Robert Ornstein, others, and I/myself became aware..."
"Professor Gardner, Professor Robert Ornstein, and I/myself became aware"