I find it hard to explain to myself why "myself" is the grammatically correct choice in this sentence:

  • When my friend came he joined myself, my wife, and my son at the table.

Often people write or say "me" instead, but I often see that in well-written books and in good-quality literature, "myself" is the more common choice. Does that mean that "myself" is the grammatically correct choice?

  • 2
    It's explained here - better than I could explain it.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 18, 2018 at 10:12
  • @BillyKerr, A side question. I see this from that link: Staff who deal with the public in businesses such as restaurants... , which I think it should be Staff who deals with the public in businesses such as restaurants... What do you think?
    – dan
    Jan 18, 2018 at 12:24
  • No. That is how we say it in the UK. There is no error. The word "staff" in that sense is plural here. Americans may disagree however.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 18, 2018 at 12:33
  • "Staff" as a collective noun that can be either plural or singular, depending on context and local dialect was discussed in this ELL question. Jan 18, 2018 at 15:05
  • 1
    The reflexive is not used in that situation in standard AmE, although many people, trying to speak "correctly", will use it there, because they misremember or misunderstand what they were taught in school. It is a form of so-called "hypercorrectness" Myself is certainly not the more common choice in AmE in non-reflexive contexts. I don't think there's any AmE dialect correlation, but I do see a sociolect relationship.
    – TimR
    Jan 18, 2018 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


You are finding it hard to explain why it is correct because your use is disputed.

'Myself' is only universally accepted when 'I' am both the subject and the object of the verb. Thus:

I hurt myself

I made myself do it

If someone else is the subject then you would normally say

He hurt me

He made me do it

This definition is given by Miriam Webster

Some authorities allow 'myself' to be used instead of 'me' in lists, in which case your construction is correct. Cambridge Dictionary allows this.

In any case the version with 'me' is absolutely correct.

When my friend came he joined me, my wife, and my son at the table.

This construct occurs frequently in formal, correct writing.

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