I did it myself.

What is the difference between a "reflexive pronoun" and an "emphatic pronoun"?

What's the definition of "emphatic pronoun"?


The difference between the two constructs is whether it is necessary for the specific meaning (then it's reflexive) of the sentence or can be omitted without changing the actual meaning (then it's emphatic).

In your particular sentence:

I did it myself.

if you omit "myself", then the meaning (that "it" was "done" by you) still remains:

I did it.

So, the pronoun is emphatic.

A few examples:

He knocked himself out. -- reflexive.
He himself called the police. -- emphatic
They don't consider themselves brave. -- reflexive
They climbed the mountain all by themselves. -- reflexive
They climbed the mountain themselves. -- emphatic

  • Another illustrative pair that might help: No-one else was willing to quiz the chairman at the AGM, so I asked myself (emphatic) vs I asked myself why no-one else was willing to quiz the chairman at the AGM (reflexive). I think the difference in meaning there is much clearer there than with your mountain example (which in any case introduces the extra complexity of by). – FumbleFingers Nov 20 '15 at 21:32

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