I want to know the difference between these expressions "for myself" and "by myself", because I don't know how I should use them, for example:

I had studied English for myself until I attended a school.

I had studied English by myself until I attended a school.

At the previous sentences which one is correct?, or are both correct? If they're both correct, what is the exactly difference between "for myself" and "by myself"?, in any sentence.

  • Note that you can accept an answer if you think it answered your question satisfactorily by clicking on the check mark under its score (which you can then click again to unselect as the accepted answer if you think you've made a mistake, etc.). However, please wait at least 24 hours before doing so due to the reasons mentioned here. By the way, nice question. (+1)
    – user3395
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


To do something for myself means to do it for my own benefit rather than for the benefit of anybody else.

To do something by myself means to do it without the assistance or anybody else and, by implication, without using online or other aids.

So, if I spent all my weekends picking up litter in the neighbourhood for myself it's because I wanted to enjoy a litter-free neighbourhood.

If I spent those weekends picking up litter by myself it means that nobody else joined me in my litter-removal campaign. It was a single-handed effort.

Your example sentences are badly constructed. What you are trying to say is:

I had studied English for/by myself until I joined a school.

You need to use the past tense joined.

We would probably write: until I attended a school rather than joined.

  • Can I say "all I have to do by myself"? Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 2:49

Ronald has already explained the meaning. I am just using your example to bring out the difference. The first sentence you quote (with "for myself") might be technically correct and hypothetically possible. But in real life, there would hardly be a situation where you would say that you were learning English "for yourself" until you attended a school. That just makes you think, "Aren't you learning English for yourself anymore? For whom are you learning English now?"

The second sentence is what you would use in real life situations: "I had studied English by myself until I attended a school." This means you were trying to learn it on your own earlier. Now you attend a school where they teach English.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .