Is it me or are reflexive pronouns used in an increasingly incorrect manner? I’ll admit that this is one abuse of grammar that makes me want to reach for a chainsaw annoys me slightly.
Consider these examples:
"My mother, my father and myself were in the hotel when Barry died."
"If you would like a loan to get Charlie out of jail, please contact myself."
Here, myself should be replaced by I (subject pronoun) in the first example, and me (object pronoun) in the second.
Myself, yourself, him/herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves: all of these reflective pronouns have two functions:

  • referring back to an antecedent in the same sentence (e.g. Paul hates himself).
  • intensifying (Janine killed Barry herself). This emphasises the fact that Janine and no-one else killed Barry.
  • If one day you find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure whether you should use a reflexive pronoun, remember this: they always, always refer back to an antecedent in the same sentence, and that they can never be subjects.
    So why do people abuse reflexive pronouns in this way?
    The only thing that I can think of is that people believe, and they’re mistaken, that reflexive pronouns sound more formal, more eloquent than object pronouns. They think that by using them, they can appear more "clever", more "educated". Maybe to some people, saying "please contact myself" sounds more sophisticated than "please contact me". Using a reflexive pronoun could also be seen as more polite than an object pronoun, as the following example may suggest: "I talked to you and your wife" versus "I talked to yourself and your wife".
    I must admit this is my number one pet hate. Every day I pray it’s not going to become more and more popular and end up part of everyday language.