Ourselves Or Ourself

Ourselves or Ourself: Understanding the Difference

When it comes to language, the tiniest of details can make all the difference. An example of this is the subtle difference between ourselves and ourself. While these two terms may sound similar and are often used interchangeably, understanding the difference between the two can save you from committing grammatical errors while speaking or writing.

Ourself refers to an individual person, while ourselves refers to a group of people. The usage of these two terms is dependent on the number of people being referred to in the sentence. For instance, you would use ourselves when referring to a group of individuals, such as “we” or “us.” On the other hand, ourself is reserved for individual usage, such as when referring to “myself” or “yourself” instead of “ourselves.”

While ourself may seem like it makes sense in certain contexts, its usage is considered non-standard English. This is because it is most often used as a substitute for myself or yourself in sentences where the speaker wants to emphasize individuality, especially in reflexive sentences like “I’ll do it myself” or “She talked to herself about the problem.” In such cases, oneself also works as a better substitute.

If you’re unsure of which term to use, consider the pronouns used in the sentence. If the sentence refers to an individual, use ourself. If it refers to a group of individuals, use ourselves.

As with most things in language, context is crucial in determining which term is the right one to use. One way to safeguard against committing errors is to proofread your work and ensure that your usage is not off.

Now, let’s explore some ways to use these two terms correctly:

Using ourselves correctly

When referring to a group of people, always use ourselves. This could be in a sentence like, “We need to work on ourselves,” or “The team members decided to take care of ourselves.” In both these cases, the sentence refers to a group of individuals, and thus, ourselves is the correct term to use.

Using ourself correctly

If you’re referring to an individual, you can safely use ourself. If you’re unsure, consider using either of the reflexive pronouns – “myself” or “yourself” instead as they make usage more standardised. For instance, one could use the sentence, “I’ll do it on our own,” which is a correct usage of ourself, in contrast with “I’ll do it myself” which shows a standardised usage.

Using ourselves vs. ourself in context

The choice between ourselves and ourself is determined by the individual or group context of the sentence. Ourself is a non-standard usage of the English language, and it is best used in unique instances where the intention of emphasizing individuality is clear.

For instance, the sentence, “I’ll buy ourself a trip,” is incorrect usage because it refers to an individual, rather than a group of people, hence oneself is a more standardized usage.

On the other hand, “We will work on ourself,” is incorrect in terms of standard usage because it refers to a group of people. The correct usage would be “We will work on ourselves.”

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In conclusion, understanding the difference between ourselves and ourself is essential to avoid grammatical errors in oral or written communication. Remember that ourself is typically used in a context where emphasis on individuality is clear, while ourselves is used when referring to a group of individuals.

Therefore, always ensure that your sentences and phrases are grammatically correct to showcase your mastery of the English language. Keep in mind that writing SEO optimized articles requires using high-ranking keywords, such as those discussed above, to deliver rich and insightful content.