-1

Suppose i have this sentence:

Ten women are looking at themselves.

Since there's no a man in that group, can we replace themselves with "herselves"?

2
  • 1
    No, you cannot have 'herselves'. The plural of herself/himself is themselves. It's the same as [more than one] her/himthem.
    – Void
    Apr 21, 2021 at 23:42
  • No, this is not standard English at all. It is just was wrong as writing, "I am looking at hers," when I am looking at multiple women. Apr 21, 2021 at 23:45

1 Answer 1

2

No, you cannot. "herselves" (and likewise "himselves") is not an actual English word.

The plural of "him" is "them". The plural of "her" is also "them" (there is no distinction between a group of men or a group of women, they both use the same pronoun). For singular pronouns, you use "-self", and for plural pronouns you use "-selves" (the singular/plural of both parts must always match), therefore:

  • himself -- correct (singular ("him") + singular ("self"))
  • herself -- correct (singular ("her") + singular ("self"))
  • themselves -- correct (plural ("them") + plural ("selves"))
  • himselves -- incorrect (singular ("him") + plural ("selves"))
  • herselves -- incorrect (singular ("her") + plural ("selves"))
  • themself -- incorrect (plural ("them") + singular ("self"))

The only situation I could imagine where you might legitimately "bend the rules" and say something like "herselves" is if you were writing some sort of sci-fi or fantasy story where one (single) person somehow had multiple bodies (multiple "selves"), and you wanted to emphasize in a particularly literary way that that one person was looking at multiples of herself, etc. (But that only works because you are specifically describing (and drawing attention to) an abnormal condition which does not fit normal language rules)

1
  • "The only situation I could imagine where you might legitimately "bend the rules" and say something like "herselves" is if you were writing some sort of sci-fi or fantasy story" Alternately, I could totally believe a radical feminist might use "herselves" to refer a group of women. I don't know if any of them have, but I would be willing to believe that they would.
    – nick012000
    Apr 22, 2021 at 3:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .