I try not to be one of those cranky pedants who insist on clinging to old rules of schoolroom grammar. Split your infinitives with impunity! End your sentences with prepositions at will! Don’t think twice about beginning your sentences with coordinating conjunctions!
Still some sentences just get on my nerves and call up my prescriptivist side. I simply reject those constructions. One such sentence showed up in Saturday’s paper:
And, in some news that’s exciting to Philadelphia natives such as myself, Rita’s Water Ice will open its first Triangle outlet in the Shoppes in August or September.
“Such as myself” sounds wrong. It strikes me as either a grating hypercorrection (like me isn’t good enough?) or a deliberate colloquialism (irony dripping all over). What is this reflexive pronoun reflecting? No “I” comes before it. Yet, as I look for justification for my loathing of this use of a “-self” pronoun, I find that it’s in wide use and is hardly scorned. In fact, as this Language Log entry shows “someone such as myself” appears more often than “someone like me,” which sounds MUCH better to me.
How would I edit that sentence? Perhaps …
And, in some news that’s exciting to Philadelphia natives including me, Rita’s Water Ice will open its first Triangle outlet in the Shoppes in August or September.
And, in some news that’s exciting to me and other Philadelphia natives, Rita’s Water Ice will open its first Triangle outlet in the Shoppes in August or September.
Here are the rules for using reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves):
The subject and the object are the same: Jane hurt herself when she tried to cook dinner.
The object of a preposition that refers to the subject: When Caroline packed her bag for a day at the beach, she put in toys for the children and a magazine for herself.
The -self pronouns can also be intensifiers: I myself would never use the phrase “such as myself.”
This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.