An intensive pronoun adds emphasis to a statement; for example, "I did it myself." While English intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves) use the same form as reflexive pronouns, an intensive pronoun is different from a reflexive because the pronoun can be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence. An intensive noun works with the antecedent, the word the pronoun replaces. For example, compare "I will do it myself," where "myself" is intensive and can be removed without changing the meaning, to "I sold myself," where "myself" fills the necessary role of direct object.
In other languages
Latin has a dedicated intensive pronoun, ipse, -a, -um, used to emphasize a noun or pronoun in either a subject or a predicate of a sentence.
In Danish, emphasis is indicated using the word selv; "I will do it myself" is rendered Jeg gør det selv when a verb is used that requires reflexion, like in English except that two words are used: "I help myself" is rendered Jeg hjælper mig selv.
In Spanish, as in most other pro-drop languages, emphasis can be added simply by explicitly using the omissible pronoun. Following the above example, "I will do it myself" is rendered "Lo haré yo." Adding "mismo" after the pronoun yields additional emphasis. French uses certain forms of disjunctive pronouns completed by adverb -même, for example (Je l'ai fait moi-même).
- Ramsey, Samuel (1968). The English Language and English Grammar. Ardent Media. p. 324. Discusses how English came to acquire reflexive and intensive pronouns from earlier languages.