BizWritingTip reader: “One of my pet peeves around the office is when people refer to themselves as ‘myself’ in a sentence, as in this example, ‘The list was put together by myself.’ I would use ‘me’ here; am I correct?”
BizWritingTip response: You have just hit on one of my pet peeves also: me versus myself. I grind my teeth whenever I see or hear “Please contact myself.”
“Myself” is a reflexive pronoun (a pronoun that ends in –self or –selves). Reflexive pronouns are used for two reasons: to direct action back to the subject or for emphasis.
Examples of reflexive pronouns (when directing action back to the subject)
He believed himself to be the only one supporting the recommendation.
They have booked themselves on a Mediterranean cruise.
We found ourselves agreeing with the decision.
I taught myself how to use the new computer program.
Examples of reflexive pronouns (when emphasizing a pronoun already expressed)
You should have checked the figures yourself.
I myself am confused about the goal.
We should check out the site ourselves.
Note: These examples may seem redundant, but they are grammatically correct. And they create additional emphasis.
Let’s get back to the original question. “The list was put together by myself” is wrong. There is no need for a reflexive pronoun here. You need an objective pronoun.
The list was put together by me.
Please contact me.
When you have finished your phone call, please come and see me.
Send the report to Harry or me.
Let’s make a conscious effort this week to use “myself” correctly.