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Unit 38. Just Help Yourself; Throw It to Me.

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Prominence in Reflexive and Personal Pronouns

Unit 38; Part A

When a refexive pronoun follows a verb or preposition and refers to the subject, it is usually non-prominent (see Unit 33):37.1.jpg
        She locked herself OUT.
        As he ran, he TIMED himself.
        You should look AFTer yourself.
        Make yourself at HOME.
        Let me introDUCE myself.
        He fell and HURT himself.


However, refexive pronouns like this can be made prominent for contrast.
Compare:
        I stupidly left my wallet at home. I was really anNOYED with myself.
but:  A: I bet you were angry with your sister.
        B: In fact, I was MAINly annoyed with mySELF

Unit 38; Part B

When we use refexive pronouns for emphasis they are usually prominent. For example -
  • after a noun or pronoun to emphasise it:
    I'm fying to Rome, but the AIRport itSELF is miles from the city.
    Many successful business people didn't go to college. I mySELF left school at 16.
  • at the end of a clause to emphasise the subject:
    I'm arranging the office party, but I won't be there mySELF.
    They drew the posters themSELVES.
  • to emphasise that someone did or will do something alone or without help:
    I made it mySELF
    Did you paint it yourSELF?
    She went all by herSELF.
    We had the beach all to ourSELVES.

However, reflexive pronouns like this can be made non-prominent if we want to highlight a contrast somewhere else in the sentence.
Compare:
        I'm really thirsty. I could drink the whole BOTtle mySELF
but:  A: You look thirsty. Would you like a glass of this juice?
        B: Actually, I could drink the whole BOTtle myself.

Unit 38; Part C

Personal pronouns (e.g. they, me, we, you) are usually non-prominent:
           They WOULDn't let me IN.    SHOULD we WAIT for you?

However, we can make them prominent in order to contrast one person or group of people with others:

           Throw it to ME, not to HIM.
           The only person who's applied so far is YOu. (An implied contrast between 'you' and 'others')


note.jpgNote: The pronoun it is rarely stressed, except in some phrases with this and that (see Unit 22 B).

 



Exercises

flag.jpgListen and repeat these phrases.
Key.1    She was killing herself laughing.
2    We had to do all the cooking ourselves.
3    They blame themselves for it.
4    He didn't know what to do with himself.
5    Take care of yourself.
6    He made it all himself.
7    I'm going to get myself a bike.
8    They made fools of themselves.
9    I picked them myself.
10  Speak for yourself.
11  I just burned myself.
12  Take one for yourself, too.

1    She was killing herself laughing.
2    We had to do all the cooking ourselves.
3    They blame themselves for it.
4    He didn't know what to do with himself.
5    Take care of yourself.
6    He made it all himself.
7    I'm going to get myself a bike.
8    They made fools of themselves.
9    I picked them myself.
10  Speak for yourself.
11  I just burned myself.
12  Take one for yourself, too.
 
Now underline only the reflexive pronouns you made prominent.

flag.jpgIs the reflexive pronoun in each sentence likely to be prominent or non-prominent? Underline reflexive pronouns you think will be prominent.
Key.1    What did you do to yourself?
2    I fell asleep on the train and found myself in Cardiff.
3    The city centre itself is quite interesting.
4    She went for a walk by herself.
5    He's got himself a new car.
6    Have a good time. Enjoy yourselves.
7    Do they bake the bread themselves?
8    I'm keeping myself warm.
9    I grew all the vegetables myself.
10  She tried to defend herself.

Example: He works for himself.
1    What did you do to yourself?
2    I fell asleep on the train and found myself in Cardiff.
3    The city centre itself is quite interesting.
4    She went for a walk by herself.
5    He's got himself a new car.
6    Have a good time. Enjoy yourselves.
7    Do they bake the bread themselves?
8    I'm keeping myself warm.
9    I grew all the vegetables myself.
10  She tried to defend herself.

Now listen, check your answers and repeat the sentences.
 
flag.jpgListen and underline only the reflexive pronouns or personal pronouns in this conversation that are made prominent for contrast.
Key.A: I've made you a cake.
B: Is that it?
A: Yes, help yourself.
B: Er, you have some first.
A: But I didn't make it for me.
B: I can't eat it all myself. Marco would like it. Why not give some to him?
A: But I made it for you. You don't like it, do you?
B: Well, it's not the cake itself. It's the icing ...
A: And I was feeling so pleased with myself.

38.1.jpgA: I've made you a cake.
B: Is that it?
A: Yes, help yourself.
B: Er, you have some first.
A: But I didn't make it for me.
B: I can't eat it all myself. Marco would like it. Why not give some to him?
A: But I made it for you. You don't like it, do you?
B: Well, it's not the cake itself. It's the icing ...
A: And I was feeling so pleased with myself.

Now listen again. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows.


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