Would you say "My own self is doing his homework" or "My own self is doing my homework"? Or is it wrong to use "my own self" in this way?

Technically, I think it should be possible even if not widely used (searching on google gives no results; never read anything that resembles with this structure) and I'm more inclined towards the former. But both of them sound unnatural.

Context: I was writing a blog post when I happened to just write the following sentence down:

Deadline is knocking on the door like my own decrepit self banging his head on the wall.

On rereading, I realized that it sounds off. I'm sure I can phrase it differently if it comes to that, but I'd like to know anyway.

  • I would use its not his or my, but I want to know their opinions too. Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 18:28
  • 'His' (or 'her', as it may be) but this is a 'poetic' or idiomatic usage of language, as I'm sure you know already. It has the implication of the 'self' as separate from you (huh?! :-) ) carrying out his/her own thing, rather than doing "your" homework. Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 19:12
  • @TasneemZh "It's" sounds even more unnatural, even if that might end up being grammatically correct.
    – Nirav
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 8:30
  • @seventyeightist But it isn't blatantly wrong, is it? I don't mind the sentence being 'poetic', as you say, as long as it isn't wrong and doesn't have a definite correction.
    – Nirav
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 8:34
  • The entire sentence sounds bad: "I did his homework myself." My own decrepit self is another thing. That could be OK.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


"My own self is doing his homework"; "My own self is doing my homework"

I agree with the @seventyeightist's comment - this is a "poetic" usage of English. And I would say "self" is in the third person, so "his" or "her" makes more sense than "my". But - I think your blog post has a more likely usage - "my own decrepit self" sounds better than "my own self", because the use of a modifier in the middle makes the use of "my own self" sound less gratuitous. So I would say either "My own decrepit [or whatever description] self is doing his homework," or simply "I am doing my homework." And definitely don't use the reflexive object pronoun "myself" as the subject - as in, "Myself is doing my homework"- that would be very wrong.


Example: "I ended up having to take care of it my own self."

The -own- in "my own self" ("myownself"/my-own-self) is a sort of infix (as opposed to a prefix or a suffix) that intensifies the reflexivity of the pronoun "myself."

Another example of infixation: unbe-fuckin-lievable.

It's my strong impression that this is predominantly an African American Vernacular English form -- or generally Southern?

  • No, I don't think "unbe-fuckin-lievable" is particular to AAVE or Southern dialects.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 6:13
  • Nope, expletive infixation is universal, remarkably so in fact. It's a fun subject to read about. Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 6:54

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