Learn English – “People like you” versus “people like yourself”


In the latest South Park episode, I noticed a line:

We have so many abandoned babies and
not enough people like yourself who

Which kinda struck me, because I'd expect it to be people like you.

Is the original quote broken, or are both correct, representing a different meaning?

Best Answer

You can find that yourself is

yourself, pronoun

1 used when both the subject and object of the verb are you
Be careful with that knife or you'll cut yourself!

2 used to give special attention to the subject of the sentence
Did you make the dress yourself?
You can do that yourself.

The second meaning is not reflective and does not require "you" to be previously mentioned. The meaning is simply emphasized, such as in:

not stressed

people like you

vs stressed

people like you yourself / people like yourself

Some further examples from Merriam-Webster's dictionary of English usage

A secret, kept from all the rest / Between yourself and me. - Lewis Carroll, "She's All My Fancy Painted Him," ca. 1854

Get me some good left-handers like yourself and Robinson - Robert Frost, letter, 23 Jan. 1921

In all this I look to nothing but the happiness of yourself, Mr. Randolph, and the dear children - Thomas Jefferson, letter, 27 Feb. 1809

Those who, like yourself, know what they are about - Walter W. Skeat, letter, in K. M. Elisabeth Murray, Caught in the Web of Words, 1977

EDIT2: I feel that choice of the first dictionary might have been unlucky, here is oxford, where I think the distinction is made perfectly clear:

1 [reflexive] used to refer to the person being addressed as the object of a verb or preposition when they are also the subject of the clause

2 [emphatic] you personally (used to emphasize the person being addressed)

The way I read the second meaning is completely unrelated to the first; under second meaning it is not reflexive, simply the meaning of yourself is you personally (try to substitute phrase "you personally" instead of "yourself" in the four examples from the MW; I think it does make it clear and very precise and I think that this is a very good definition of actual usage).

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