Lest you consider me a hypocrite, I’d like to take this moment to remind you that I am not promoting grammar perfection; I am promoting grammar awareness. In addition to making errors myself, I certainly don’t know every single grammar rule. In fact, I am totally unsure about the grammar pet peeve expressed in this review I just read on Good Reads:
Like everyone else, I've got personal pet peeves when it comes to grammar. Here’s an example of something that makes me cringe: He poured himself a cup of coffee. Arrrrgh! That and countless other variations of it make their way into writing every day. In actuality, he didn't pour himself; he poured a cup of coffee for himself. Do I understand the meaning of the first version? Sure I do, but the writer might just as well write: Throw me down the stairs my shoes.
Here’s the thing: He poured himself a coffee doesn’t seem incorrect to me.
After I read the review, I decided to investigate. My first stop: reflexive pronouns (i.e., himself, herself, myself). We use reflexive pronouns to refer back to the subject of the sentence. The following two examples were provided as the correct way to use reflexive pronouns:
Bob is going to buy himself one of those new cell phones.
Mary sent herself a copy.
If the person who wrote the review is correct, then wouldn’t these examples be incorrect?
By the reviewer’s logic, Bob’s not buying himself; he’s buying a cell phone for himself. Mary didn’t send herself; she sent a copy to herself.
The reviewer seems so certain it’s making me insecure.
What do you guys think?