Yourself vs. Yourselves

What's the Difference?

Yourself is used when referring to one individual, while Yourselves is used when referring to a group of individuals. For example, "Please introduce yourself" would be used when speaking to one person, while "Please introduce yourselves" would be used when speaking to a group of people. Both words are used to indicate the reflexive form of the pronoun "you," but they differ in terms of singular and plural usage.


UsageRefers to one personRefers to more than one person
Subject PronounYouYou
Object PronounYourselfYourselves
Possessive PronounYourYour

Further Detail


When it comes to the difference between "yourself" and "yourselves," it all boils down to the number of people involved. "Yourself" is a singular pronoun, referring to just one person, while "yourselves" is a plural pronoun, referring to a group of people. Understanding this distinction is crucial in using these words correctly in sentences.


One of the most common mistakes people make is using "yourself" when they should be using "yourselves." For example, saying "Help yourself to some snacks" is correct because it's addressing one person. On the other hand, saying "Help yourselves to some snacks" is correct when addressing a group of people. It's important to pay attention to the number of individuals being referred to in order to use these pronouns accurately.

Reflexive Pronouns

Both "yourself" and "yourselves" are considered reflexive pronouns, which means they are used when the subject and object of a sentence are the same person or people. For example, "You can do it yourself" uses "yourself" because the subject "you" is also the object. Similarly, "You can do it yourselves" uses "yourselves" when referring to a group of people performing an action on themselves.


Another key difference between "yourself" and "yourselves" is the emphasis they place on the individual or group. "Yourself" tends to emphasize the singular person, while "yourselves" emphasizes the collective group. This distinction can be important in conveying the intended meaning and tone of a sentence. For instance, saying "You can do it yourself" may imply independence and self-reliance, while saying "You can do it yourselves" may suggest teamwork and collaboration.


When it comes to formality, "yourself" is often considered more formal than "yourselves." Using "yourself" can add a touch of politeness and respect to a sentence, especially in professional or formal settings. On the other hand, "yourselves" is generally more casual and informal, making it suitable for everyday conversations with friends and family. Understanding the level of formality required in a given situation can help you choose between these pronouns appropriately.


Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference between "yourself" and "yourselves" in context:

  • "Please introduce yourself to the group." (singular)
  • "Please introduce yourselves to the group." (plural)
  • "You can handle it yourself." (singular)
  • "You can handle it yourselves." (plural)


In conclusion, the distinction between "yourself" and "yourselves" lies in the number of individuals being referred to and the emphasis placed on the singular person or collective group. Understanding when to use each pronoun correctly can help you communicate effectively and convey the intended meaning in your sentences. Whether you're writing formally or informally, being mindful of the differences between these pronouns can elevate the clarity and precision of your language.

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