I have come across the words 'self-operated' and 'self-owned' in corporate documents. The meaning seems to be 'operated by oneself' and 'one's own'. Examples:

  • The company has five self-operated stores. (i.e. the stores are operated by the company's staff instead of franchised)
  • The company will finance the acquisition with self-owned funds. (i.e. the company will use its own money instead of borrowing from a bank)

This seems odd to me. I imagine something 'self-operated' would be like an automated machine that does not need manual operation, and by https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=self-owned 'self-owned' means one humiliating oneself by one's own device. But these usages are so prevalent in the documents I read so that I begin to doubt myself.

Are they actually correct? If not, what are the correct ways to express the meaning?

1 Answer 1


The terms are wrongly used. In the first sentence, self-operated implies that the stores are automated, which is a wrong term to describe this situation. I guess its usage is limited to economics, or maybe the usage is just informal. For the second sentence, it’s not correct to use the term “self-owned”, I would rather use the term self-funding.

  • I remember as a child seeing a reference to self-drive cars and asking my Mum if they drove themselves. She explained that it meant 'driven by the person who hired the car'. Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 10:26
  • @KateBunting Yes, such terms are sometimes confusing and that’s why they are used informally in many cases. Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 10:44
  • 'drive' here is a bare infinitive whereas 'operated' and 'owned' are past participles. Does this make a difference? c.f. self-driven
    – user116955
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 7:13

You must log in to answer this question.

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