I vs Myself? When to Use These Words in English

Knowing when to use I vs Myself in English isn’t as difficult as it may seem. There are distinct rules but there’s a mnemonic device that can help you remember. While there are some nuances, “I” always acts as a subject pronoun whereas “myself” can either add emphasis or act as a reflexive pronoun.

When to Use “I” in English

“I” in English is a subject pronoun that always accompanies a verb.

I love reading books.

Steve and I went to the café.

I am not happy about the new rules.

Also, consider the second example above. Steve is the subject along with “I,” making a double subject. Whenever using “I” in a double subject, you put “I” after.

You and I . . .

Grandma and I . . .

The dogs and I . . .

When to Use “Myself” in English

There are two rules when using “Myself” in a sentence: as a reflexive pronoun or to add emphasis to the verb.

As a Reflexive Pronoun

A reflexive pronoun returns ownership of an action to the subject of a sentence.

I found myself lost in a sea of zombies.

I wash myself every morning.

The exception to using “Myself” in a sentence, as in the last sample above would be if there’s a distinct indication of place or location. Then you’ll use “Me.”

Correct: I set the bowl of rice next to me.
Incorrect: I set the bowl of rice next to myself.

The key thing to understand here is that we use “myself” when you both do and receive the action.

Verb Emphasis

The other rule for “Myself” is to emphasize a verb:

If Steve won’t order anything, I will do it myself.

I myself am elated they’re getting married.

I went to the movies by myself.

Mnemonic Device

The best way to understand if you’re using “I” or “Myself” correctly in a sentence is to write the sentence both ways and hear how it sounds. You would never use “Myself” in reference to you as the subject of a sentence.

Incorrect: Myself went to the movies alone.
Correct: I went to the movies alone.


Knowing the difference between “I” and “Myself,” isn’t difficult. If you can remember that “I” will always have a verb, you will know this is correct. With “Myself,” you will often use it to reflect an action back to you or to emphasize your action.