A short rant about: ‘Myself’.
Nope, I’m not ranting about myself, as in me – Media Mummy, Kimberly.
(Although in the context of this title, you’d be forgiven for thinking that.)
I’m talking about people who use the word ‘myself’ in the wrong way. As in:
‘Oh, is that Ben I’m talking to?’, ‘Yes that’s myself.’ Grrr.
Or, ‘I would love it if you would think of myself for any future opportunities at your company.’ Well I won’t now, will I?
Or, ‘Ooo’s the blahhdy mug who sold that box o’ carrots for less than a fiver, then?’, ‘Erm. That would be myself, Lord Sugar.’ FIRED!
Blood boiling already. And I’m hearing it more and more.
I first noticed this ‘myself’ epidemic when I was really into The Apprentice a few series back. Britain’s Best Business Brains were obviously not the best English speakers as they all ‘myself’-ed themselves over each other at top volume in the boardroom. Watch any episode and I swear the last 20 minutes of boardroom action includes wrong occurrences of myself approximately every 12 seconds. Perhaps the Edit Producers are having a giggle and seeing how many extra ‘myself’s they can squeeze into the cut without their bosses, the candidates or the general public realising, but I fear not and this word has just become a pretend posh person’s way of trying to posh up their language in an awkward or high pressure sort-of-posh situation. Or simply because they’re douchebags.
You see, I’m a bit of a language geek, and things like this really niggle me. When people use the wrong language, over time it becomes normal, and then it sneaks its sneaky little self into everyday language in the best case, and the Oxford English dictionary the worst case. (Like the word ‘selfie’, which I still can’t bear. WE HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN PICTURES OF OURSELVES DAMMIT! Just with a crappy Kodak disposable and no word for it.)
Super quick (boring) lesson then. Look away now if you don’t want to see the score:
‘Myself’ is a reflexive pronoun. It is used with certain verbs like ‘ to wash yourself’. Fine – ‘Mummy, I still haven’t washed myself!’ Or ‘to introduce yourself’. Yep – ‘Hi, let me introduce myself, I’m Kimberly.’ Or ‘to enjoy yourself’. OK – ‘I’m really enjoying myself. Isn’t it fun to learn about reflexive pronouns Media Mummy!’
Some verbs change their meaning slightly when you add a reflexive pronoun… ‘to behave’, ‘to blame’, ‘to distance’ etc etc
I fear I’m losing you.
You’ll be thinking of me though next time you’re on the phone to a callcentre – they’ll myself yourself to death. ‘Is the appliance for yourself?’ ‘Yes that would be myself it would need posting back to.’ Would it now?! WOULD IT?
Poor little ‘me’ and ‘you’, they’re just not deemed formal enough for The Apprentice candidates or callcentre workers anymore. Little sniff.
I’m going to pour me a nice big gin and tonic.
Featured image: Maria Symchych / Shutterstock