Have you ever wanted to intensify your stance in a sentence? Well, an exclamation mark isn't the only way to take a stand. You can make your mark with some well-planned intensive pronouns.
Pronouns live to serve nouns. They take the place of nouns in a sentence when redundancy is imminent. For example, this would not work. "When Alessandra saw the lost boy, I thought Alessandra was going to take the lost boy home to live with Alessandra's family." Instead, we want to say, "When Alessandra saw the boy, I thought she herself was going to take him home to live with her family." Let's take a closer look at intensive pronouns and see what they can do for your writing.
Intensive pronouns emphasize, or intensify, nouns and pronouns. They're also called emphatic pronouns. Each title is quite appropriate, as you'll see.
Typically, we find these pronouns immediately after the noun they're intensifying (but not always). Another great way to spot intensive - or emphatic - pronouns is to note they typically end in -self or -selves. The list includes:
To get a sense of how intensive pronouns work, take a look at these sample sentences.
I myself don't forgive you.
He himself built that house.
Sheila approved the purchase herself.
We went to listen to Obama himself speak.
It was so crazy, she herself stood up before the crowd to take a stand.
You'll often see intensive pronouns stacked up against reflexive pronouns. The two are closely related. Reflexive pronouns also end in -self or -selves, just like intensive pronouns. You'll notice the list is identical:
So, why are there two separate labels? See if you can sniff out the difference in these examples:
I told myself not to spend all my money on new shoes.
You're going to have to drive yourself to work today.
We gave ourselves plenty of extra time.
They bought themselves a new tiny house.
Actually, take yourselves to the party.
Did you catch it? The difference between the two is that intensive pronouns aren't essential to a sentence's meaning. They're merely there to add emphasis or extra intensity. Meanwhile, reflexive pronouns are essential to the sentence's meaning. Let's take one of the emphatic examples above (where things are getting pretty intense). You could say, " I myself don't forgive you," or, "I don't forgive you." Both sentences have the same meaning.
However, with reflexive pronouns, there's no denying the importance of the pronoun. For example, there's no way around, "We gave ourselves plenty of extra time." If you tried to omit the pronoun in this sentence, you'd cease to have a complete thought. To whom did you give plenty of extra time?
So, that's what it boils down to. You can, indeed, show emphasis with intensive and reflexive pronouns. You'll know which one you've chosen when you've either created a complete thought or a brief clause.
Who knew? Indeed, you can punch a point without the obvious exclamation point. In truth, there are over ten different types of pronouns. For a complete discussion on these high-performing parts of speech, enjoy this article on types of pronouns. Until then, feel free to throw your nouns and pronouns into the mix and see which will work best for your written piece of art.