What are Intensive Pronouns?

intensive pronoun

Mastering the Nuances: Intensive Pronouns

The English language on the contrary depends on a grand variety of words, each of them being a specialty. Pronouns, which are real-life slangs for nouns, are the main ingredients in forming clear and concise sentences. Nonetheless, there is another type of pronoun that is not as obvious as the other one; intensive pronouns. These underrated heroes give emphasis and intensity, transforming the meaning of a sentence to a whole new level. 

This article plunges into the depth of intensive pronouns and thereby empowers you with the knowledge to handle them skillfully in your writing and communication. In other words, you will be on the right track to becoming a master of pronouns once you comprehend how intensive pronouns work and go over the pronoun examples. 

Intensive pronouns are a special kind of pronouns that differ from the regular ones in a way that, unlike the latter, they do not replace nouns but rather stress or amplify the meaning associated with a noun or another pronoun already in the sentence. They look the same as reflexive pronouns (pronouns finishing with "-self" or "-selves" which refer to the subject like "herself" or "themselves"), but their usage is different from each other. 

Consider intensive pronouns as markers for your writing. They make the noun or pronoun stand out, thus bringing it into greater focus and attracting the reader's attention to its importance in the sentence. For example, in the sentence "I did it myself," the pronoun "myself" points out that the speaker and no one else managed to do the task

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How Do Intensive Pronouns Work?

Even though intensive pronouns often come after the noun or pronoun they emphasize, this is not always the case. Here is a breakdown of their placement and function:

  • Directly Following: In many cases, intensive pronouns appear right after the noun (list of pronouns) or pronoun they modify. Examples include: The manager herself, for the inconvenience really, apologized, and we, so, felt that it was a good idea. 
  • With Separation: At times, a section or a clause may disjoin the intensive pronoun from its antecedent. The sentence "She, by herself, tackled the challenge" is an example of how the placement of the phrase "by herself" highlights the noun "she". 

Examples of Intensive Pronouns in Action are sentences that are full of intensive pronouns or sentences that start with intensive pronouns. To solidify your grasp of intensive pronouns, let's explore some examples across various contexts 

  • Highlighting Uniqueness: The dog itself was the one to bring the newspaper every morning, in other words, it was the dog that was doing something very uncommon. 
  • Adding Contrast: The opposite, they would not listen to anyone, not even themselves, which shows the contradiction in their actions. 
  • Emphasizing Importance: "You are the one that has the key to your success and you are the one that can make it happen" (emphasizes "you" and the importance of your actions). 
  • Intensive Pronouns vs. Reflexive Pronouns: The meaning of the phrase "I can see where you're coming from" is comprehension of the separation of proposed and judged arguments. 

Besides, intensive pronouns have the same form as reflexive pronouns as given before. Nevertheless, we need to make a clear distinction between their positions. Here's a table summarizing the key differences: 

Pronouns List


Intensive Pronoun

Reflexive Pronoun


Adds emphasis

Refers back to the subject


Often follows the noun/pronoun

Always follows the subject

Sentence Meaning

Amplifies the meaning

Creates a self-directed action


"She decorated the room herself"

"She washed herself"

Here are some frequently asked questions about intensive pronouns to solidify your understanding:

Q1: Is it possible to omit intensive pronouns from a sentence?

Ans: Indeed, quite frequently one can delete an intensive pronoun without changing the grammatical structure of the sentence. However, the sentence will not be able to highlight its main point. For instance, "I did it" is still the same meaning, but "I did it myself" is the one that gives weight to the fact that the speaker did the task independently. 

Q2: Are intensive pronouns used by a person, always grammatically, correct?

Ans: Although they are grammatically correct, too many intensive pronouns in a sentence can make your writing sound awkward. Use them carefully for underlining, not as the filler of the sentence. 

Q3: Are intensive pronouns used with plural nouns?

Ans: Absolutely! 

Q4: Are there any other intensive pronouns that do not end with "-self" or "-selves?"

Ans: The unspecified "one" is also used intensively. A case in point is, "One should always be on the way to better oneself" which makes it clear that the statement is a general one. 

Q5: What is 98thPercentile?

Ans: 98thPercentile is a live online afterschool enrichment platform designed for students in grades k to 12 who live in the United States.

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