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Don’t be afraid of ‘me’ (Part 2)

‘Myself’ isn’t a substitute for ‘me’.

Some native speakers avoid using me by saying I.

While others now use myself to sound more formal or polite.

Don’t copy them. Both examples are wrong:

Please contact Sarah or I with any concerns.
Please contact Sarah or
myself with any concerns.

Correct is:

Please contact Sarah or me with any concerns.

You can check this by changing to the plural or going it alone:

Please contact us with any concerns.
Please contact
me with any concerns.

Likewise, it’s a mistake to say:

Sarah or myself will contact you next week.

Drop Sarah and you’d say:

I will contact you next week.

Adding Sarah changes nothing. It’s:

We will contact you next week.
Sarah or
I will contact you next week.

So when do you use myself?

Myself is for when you’re expressly referring back to yourself in a sentence:

I kicked myself for agreeing to do a double shift.
I often ask
myself why I became a nurse.
I learned a lot about
myself working in that hospital.

Or you want to emphasise:

I invented that procedure myself.
myself hate giving injections but my colleague likes doing them.

Which means when you use myself, your sentence also has I.

In short, if the plural would be:

  • we – use I
  • us – use me
  • ourselves – use myself

Switch to plural to be sure you’re correctly using me, myself or I.

And see here, here and here for more common confusions.

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© Christina Wielgolawski