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‘Theirselves’ vs ‘Themselves’: What’s the Difference?

Shaun Connell
March 7, 2024

Are you looking for the difference between 'theirselves' vs. 'themselves?' If so, this guide will help.

Here is the short answer in case you are in a rush: 

  • 'Theirselves' is a common misspelling that you should avoid using. 
  • 'Themselves' is a plural pronoun that is similar to himself or herself. 

The story doesn't end there, though. To learn exactly how to use 'themselves,' keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'Theirselves' vs. 'Themselves?'

The difference between 'theirselves' vs. 'themselves' is that the latter is a correct spelling, while the former is a common misspelling of 'themselves.'

Therefore, you should avoid using 'theirselves.' In any scenario that you would use the term, you should instead use 'themselves.'

Definition of 'Themselves': What Does 'Themselves' Mean?

In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'themselves' is a plural pronoun defined as:

  • When used in absolute constructions, reflexively, or for emphasis, those identical ones as they
  • When used as an indefinite third-person singular antecedent, himself or herself
  • A third-person plural non-gender specific pronoun

Other Pronouns

There are many different English pronouns. Take a look at the list below to learn about them.

  • I - First-person, singular subjective
  • Me -  First-person, singular objective
  • Mine - First-person, singular possessive
  • Myself - First-person, singular reflexive
  • We - Second-person, plural subjective
  • Us - Second-person, plural objective
  • Ours - Second-person, plural possessive
  • Ourselves - Second-person, plural reflexive
  • He - Third-person, masculine, singular subjective
  • Him - Third-person, masculine, singular objective
  • His - Third-person, masculine, singular possessive
  • Himself - Third-person, masculine, singular reflexive
  • She - Third-person, feminine, singular subjective
  • Her - Third-person, feminine, singular objective
  • Hers - Third-person, feminine, singular possessive
  • Herself - Third-person, feminine, singular reflexive
  • It - Third-person, inanimate, singular subjective and objective
  • Its - Third-person, inanimate, singular objective
  • Itself - Third-person, inanimate, singular reflexive
  • They - Third-person, gender-neutral, singular and plural subjective
  • Them - Third-person, gender-neutral, singular and plural objective
  • Theirs - Third-person, gender-neutral, singular and plural possessive
  • Themself - Third-person, gender-neutral, singular reflexive
  • Themselves - Third-person, gender-neutral, plural reflexive

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Themselves'

Whether you are an experienced speech writer or a novice taking your first writing class in high school, pronunciation is important. Knowing how to pronounce terms can help you remember how to spell and use them, and it can help to build confidence in your verbal communication skills.

So, take a look at this pronunciation guide:

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'themselves':


Writing Tips: When and How to Use 'Themselves' and Other Reflexive Pronouns

Now, here are some writing tips to help you determine when and how to use this term.

  • Use 'themselves' as a third-person, gender-neutral, plural reflexive pronoun.

For example, you could say:

Aspiring writers have to help themselves by writing frequently, keeping a writing journal, and constantly improving their craft.

  • Use 'themselves' when you are saying a group should handle something on their own.

As an example, I might say:

If left to themselves, the students will never finish the project. They are in desperate need of motivation. 

  • Use 'themself' as a gender-neutral alternative to himself or herself.

So, you could say something like:

The worker was not very nice, so when they asked if I could help them, I declined and said they could do it themself. 

  • Use 'ourselves' if you are talking about a group that includes the speaker or author.

For example, you can write:

We graded ourselves on the project because the teacher wanted us to practice evaluating our work.

  • Use 'himself' as a second-person, masculine reflexive pronoun.

So, I might say something like:

After he broke up with his girlfriend, he had to learn how to do a lot more things for himself. 

  • Use 'herself' as a second-person, feminine reflexive pronoun.

As an example, you can say:

She was proud of herself and all that she accomplished after graduating from college. 

Sample Sentences Using 'Themselves'

Next, read through each of these sample sentences. They will help you learn how to use 'themselves' in different contexts.


  • We have been telling them they would have to take responsibility for themselves for the past three years.
  • If they can not do the project themselves, they should hire a reputable contractor to do the job for them.
  • After they turned themselves in, the police questioned them for hours about the events that took place on the 31st of December.
  • Parents, please do not help your students complete the final project. They should be able to do it by themselves.
  • After looking at themselves in the mirror, the girls decided they loved their prom dresses.
  • Have you ever asked what they think of themselves?
  • Do they think of themselves as being superior to others? If so, they might want to take a long look at themselves in the mirror because they are far from perfect.
  • How do you think the leaders view themselves in comparison to others? Hopefully, they realize they are human like everyone else.
  • The teacher informed the students that they would need to grade themselves and explain to her why they chose the grade they gave themselves on their final essays.
  • If the students do not give a compelling argument for the grades they gave themselves, she may deduct points.
  • While evaluating themselves, most of the students were humble. However, Johnathan gave himself a perfect score despite doing half the work of the other students.

A Last Look at the Difference Between 'Theirselves' vs. 'Themselves'

Finally, let's take a last look at the difference between 'theirselves' vs. 'themselves': 

  • 'Theirselves' is a frequently used misspelling of 'themselves.' 
  • 'Theirselves' is never grammatically correct. Therefore, you should avoid using it. 
  • 'Themselves' is a third-person, plural, gender-neutral pronoun. 

There are many words like 'themselves' that confuse writers of all experience levels. However, you can learn about these terms and how to use them correctly by reading the other guides on this site.

Additionally, you will find dozens of posts to help you start a writing career, apply for high-paying writing jobs, build a writing portfolio, and more. Each guide contains a wealth of information, including definitions, tips, and other important information.

So, read a few more before you leave and come back frequently for fresh content to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry trends.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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