Some background first. Elyan participates in a squad tournament where teams fight against each other to be honored the strongest warriors. Gremory is so confident that he can easily beat Elyan's team all by himself, so he solos the squad fight. After his team giving a few magical blasts to Gremory's direction, causing a huge cloud of dust, Elyan thinks Gremory is down, and says,

You're a fool to have come alone.

When the dust disperses, standing upright, Gremory mocks Elyan.

Weaklings such as yourself will only get in the way of the strong!

Why is 'yourself' rather than 'you' used here? This answer to an earlier question says,

The word "yourself" can be used to mean "you" in a in an honorific way.

(I just copied and pasted, the grammatical mistake is in the original answer.)

But this can't be the case here. Gremory disparages Elyan's team. The highly powerful Gremory actually is such an arrogant power-maniac who takes as his motto 'power can only be subjugated by even greater power, power that is feeble might as well not even exist'. He can't be talking to someone who is deemed as weak by himself in an honorific way.

Then, why is 'yourself' used here?

  • 1
    It's an error in standard English. It should be 'weaklings such as you'. Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 16:47
  • It's not an error. See my answer.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


I think that it can be used for emphatic or poetic purposes.

Maybe those online tournaments have a medieval scent and participants resort to the language of chivalric romance...

  • That makes sense. By the way, what do you by 'online tournaments'? The tournament in the question is a real-life one in a fantasy novel.
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 13:50
  • 1
    Apologies for misunderstanding the context - I thought that the sentence came from an online chat in a videogame LOL
    – user167304
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 13:52

Because yourself can be used as an alternative to you in many contexts, with no special meaning except for emphasis.

In the OED under "Yourself" we find:

  1. "Used instead of the pronoun 'you'"

a. "As direct or indirect object of a verb, or as the object of a preposition".

One of the examples given is

An old bourgeois like yourself..should keep your fingers out of both their pies. (N Mitford, 1940)

  • That example sentence is prehistoric. I wonder if native speakers nowadays would use it that way in daily life.
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 17:12

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