IELTS Academic Review Tips: Learning About Reflexive Pronouns

IELTS Academic Writing Sub-test


The Writing Section is one of the challenging components of the IELTS Academic Test. It consists of two writing tasks and takes about 60 minutes to complete. In Writing Task 1, you will be asked to describe, explain or summarize the information from a graph, table or diagram in your own words. In Writing Task 2, you will be asked to construct an essay in response to an argument or problem.


If you’re an IELTS Academic test taker, it is essential to look for various study tips that can help enhance not only your writing but also your other communication skills. One practical writing tip that you can apply in your IELTS Academic review is learning about reflexive pronouns.


ielts academic review


What Is a Reflexive Pronoun?

Reflexive pronouns are words ending in -self or -selves such as myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. These words can act as a direct and indirect object or object of a preposition in a sentence. For test takers enrolled in an IELTS package, check out these three functions of reflexive pronouns:


Reflexive Pronouns as Direct Object


A reflexive pronoun can be used as a direct object in a sentence when the subject and the direct object are the same. Check these examples:


Jimmy found himself lying by the side of the road.

I hope the students would behave themselves.


As a student enrolled in an IELTS Academic review program, it is important to know that reflexive pronouns must follow a transitive verb when used as a direct object in a sentence.


Reflexive Pronouns as Indirect Object


Reflexive pronouns can also be used as an indirect object of a sentence. An indirect object is the recipient of the action of the direct object in a sentence. Look at the examples:


            Anne poured another glass of wine for herself to help chase away the sadness.

The crowd cheered their basketball team and congratulated themselves for attending the final game.


Reflexive Pronouns as Object of a Preposition


A reflexive pronoun follows a preposition when it functions as the object of a preposition in a sentence. See the examples:


You have to cook for yourself.

Meg mailed the package to herself.


However, reflexive prepositions can’t be used after a preposition of place such as below, beside, etc. Personal pronouns like him and her are only allowed to use after a preposition of place. To boost your IELTS Academic review even more, read the example below:


Incorrect:         Bryan had a suitcase beside himself.

Correct:           Bryan had a suitcase beside him.


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