Intensive Pronoun | Explore Definition, How to Use and Examples

Ever wondered what the difference between a reflexive pronoun and an intensive pronoun is? Learn all about intensive pronouns, its definition and the difference between intensive pronouns and reflexive pronouns in this article.

Table of Contents

What is an Intensive Pronoun?

An intensive pronoun is so similar to a reflexive pronoun that it mostly confuses all second language learners. It would become a lot easier if you understood how each of the pronouns functioned differently. An intensive pronoun is a pronoun that is used to provide emphasis on the action the subject does in a sentence.

Definition of an Intensive Pronoun

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an intensive pronoun as “a pronoun that emphasises a preceding noun or another pronoun (as itself in “borrowing is itself a bad habit”)” and also as “a personal pronoun compounded with -self and used in apposition with a noun or pronoun or as pronominal adjunct (as itself in “the cat looked innocence itself” or himself in “he made it himself”)”. According to the Collins Dictionary, an intensive pronoun is used in “denoting or belonging to a class of pronouns used to emphasise a noun or personal pronoun, such as himself in the sentence John himself did it. In English, intensive pronouns are identical in form with reflexive pronouns.”

Examples of Intensive Pronouns

Here is a list of intensive pronouns with examples that you can have a look at.

Intensive Pronouns

Type of Intensive Pronoun

Examples of Intensive Pronouns

Myself

Singular Intensive Pronoun

I myself did not do it.

Yourself

Singular Intensive Pronoun

Did you yourself finish the whole lasagna?

Himself

Singular Intensive Pronoun

Nobody could believe that he himself would break his own door.

Herself

Singular Intensive Pronoun

She herself found the solution to the never-ending conundrum.

Itself

Singular Intensive Pronoun

The parrot itself somehow opened the cage and flew away.

Yourselves

Plural Intensive Pronoun

I do not know what to do with you. You yourselves go and talk to the concerned authorities about what you have done.

Ourselves

Plural Intensive Pronoun

We ourselves have to find a way out of this mess.

Themselves

Plural Intensive Pronoun

They themselves took care of it and informed the police about the theft in their house.

Difference between Intensive Pronouns and Reflexive Pronouns

Though the same words are used as intensive pronouns and reflexive pronouns, they have slightly different grammatical functions. Intensive pronouns are used in order to emphasise the subject in a sentence by repeating it.

For example, Rency herself solved the puzzle.

Reflexive pronouns are words that are used when the subject and object in a sentence are one and the same.

For example, Trinita introduced herself to the new neighbours.

Another difference is that the sentence would still make sense even if the intensive pronoun is removed from the sentence, whereas the reflexive pronoun ought to be there in the sentence as it acts as the object, and only then does it make complete sense.

For example, Rency solved the puzzle. (Still means she solved the puzzle by herself)

Trinita introduced to the new neighbours. (Incomplete sentence as the object is missing)

Test Your Knowledge of Intensive Pronouns

Let us check if you have understood the difference between how an intensive pronoun and how a reflexive pronoun is used in a sentence.

Identify if the underlined words in the sentences given below is a reflexive pronoun or an intensive pronoun:

1. Did you do all of it yourself?

2. Will they be able to take care of the whole thing by themselves?

3. I myself had to take care of our pets as no one was free to stay home with me.

4. We ourselves found a place to stay in the woods as it got too late.

5. Do you think that he can finish cleaning the house all by himself?

Check your answers here.

1. Did you do all of it yourself? – Reflexive pronoun

2. Will they be able to take care of the whole thing by themselves? – Reflexive pronoun

3. I myself had to take care of our pets as no one was free to stay home with me. – Intensive pronoun

4. We ourselves found a place to stay in the woods as it got too late. – Intensive pronoun

5. Do you think that he can finish cleaning the house all by himself? – Reflexive pronoun

Frequently Asked Questions on Intensive Pronouns

What is an intensive pronoun?

An intensive pronoun is a pronoun that is used to provide emphasis on the action the subject does in a sentence.

What is the definition of an intensive pronoun?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an intensive pronoun as “a pronoun that emphasises a preceding noun or another pronoun (as itself in “borrowing is itself a bad habit”)” and also as “a personal pronoun compounded with -self and used in apposition with a noun or pronoun or as pronominal adjunct (as itself in “the cat looked innocence itself” or himself in “he made it himself”)”. According to the Collins Dictionary, an intensive pronoun is used in “denoting or belonging to a class of pronouns used to emphasise a noun or personal pronoun, such as himself in the sentence John himself did it. In English, intensive pronouns are identical in form with reflexive pronouns.”

What are the examples of intensive pronouns?

Intensive pronouns are of two main types: Singular intensive pronouns and plural intensive pronouns. Myself, herself, himself, itself and yourself are the singular intensive pronouns, and yourselves, themselves and ourselves are the plural intensive pronouns.

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