Below is a set of sentences with the same syntactic structure. The reflexive pronoun自己 (z`ıj˘ı ) in each sentence may refer to different antecedents, depending on the main verb.
In the first sentence, the reflexive pronoun may refer to 小明 or 小麗. That is because the verb 發現 (fā xiàn/ discover) is neutral, meaning it has no semantic or syntactic control on the referent of 自己.
In the second sentence, 自己 refers to 小明, since the verb 答應 (dá yīng/ promise) is a modality verb which has subject control on the referent of 自己.
In the last sentence, 自己 refers to 小麗, as The verb 勸 (quàn/ persuade) is a manipulation verb which has object control on the referent of 自己.