Professor Bot: In Part 1 of this two-part lesson, Ms. Weaver gave Anna and Pete an assignment. Ms. Weaver instructed them to do everything by themselves.
“Themselves” is a reflexive pronoun.
In today’s lesson, Ms. Weaver will look at Pete’s and Anna’s research. First, let’s see Pete’s experiment.
(Pete throws the bag of flour on his chair and throws many other things on his flour baby. Next, we see him outside enjoying ice-cream without his flour baby.)
Ms. Weaver: Okay, Pete, let me see your research first.
(Pete hands her a big binder filled with research.)
Ms. Weaver: That’s a heavy binder. And you and your Baby look great.
Pete: Thanks, Ms. Weaver. We feel great!
Ms. Weaver: Anna. Anna, you’re next. Anna? Anna wake up!
(She wakes up but is very confused.)
Anna: I'm here, Baby! I’m here! I’m here! Here's your bottle.
(She accidentally squirts her bottle and milk goes everywhere.)
Ms. Weaver: Anna, you and your baby look awful. What happened?
Anna: Well, I took her everywhere. Everywhere. And I fed her every three hours. So, I haven’t slept since … what day is it?
Ms. Weaver: It’s Friday. What happened there?
(Ms. Weaver points to a large bandage on Anna’s flour baby.)
Anna: Oh, that. Oh, that. I was making myself a salad and had a little accident with a knife. I put my flour baby in front of me. And then I accidentally stabbed it. But I gave it First Aid!
Ms. Weaver: Is that a burn?
Anna: Yes. Yes it is. While I was making myself dinner, I put Baby next to me. I accidentally knocked her into the sink. So I put her in the microwave to dry. That’s when she caught fire.
(Pete smiles, thinking he’s won.)
Professor Bot: Okay. So, we use a reflexive pronoun when it refers to the subject of a sentence or clause.
But we DON’T use a reflexive pronoun with prepositions of place.
Anna uses examples of both in one sentence: While I was making myself dinner, I put Baby next to me.
We use a reflexive pronoun in the first part of the sentence. “Myself” refers to the subject “I.”
But in the second part of the sentence, we don’t use a reflexive pronoun in the prepositional phrase. We use the pronoun “me.” Why? “next to” is a preposition of place.
(Back in the meeting room, we’re about to learn who won the parenting experiment. Pete is smiling, thinking he won.)
Ms. Weaver: Anna, Anna, you should be very proud of yourself.
Pete: Proud? She stabbed and burned her baby!! And she only did one page of research…and it’s covered in milk. Ew.
Ms. Weaver: Yes, Pete. But she followed instructions.
Pete: Hey, I did ...
Ms. Weaver: Please, Pete. Anna, I think your baby has lost some weight. Is there something else you want to share?
Anna: Yes. I’d like to share … these! I made them myself this morning.
Pete: You baked your baby? You should be ashamed of yourself!
Anna: I baked them at the end of the experiment, Pete. At that point, this was just a bag of flour.
Pete: It was always just a bag of flour!!
Ms. Weaver: Pete, will you listen to yourself?! You sound crazy.
Pete: I sound crazy! This whole experiment was crazy!! She was the one who carried around and fed it and ...
(Anna puts a cookie into his mouth. He chews it and begins to smile.)
Pete: Mmm. That is good.
(They all agree and eat the cookies.)
Professor Bot: So, what have we learned? We’ve learned when to use reflexive pronouns and when not to.