I know the verb "to learn". I also know "self-learn" as a noun. But can it be used as a verb? Like

I self-learnt something.

If not, how could I say I 'learnt' myself something in the past?

  • Notwithstanding the existing answers… This could be similar to the borrow/lend structure, the receiver & the giver. It would appear that in the self-education field, the giving is more emphasised than the receiving; hence self-taught over self-learned. I'm guessing it's a familiarity or idiom in usage rather than strictly correct or incorrect.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 25, 2015 at 16:08
  • You could say you learned something autodidactically.
    – Yello
    Oct 26, 2017 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


We speak of teach-yourself books and courses.

In the past we would most likely say: I'm self taught or I taught myself Russian or I learned it on my own.

A more formal term is autodidact - a person who learns on his own, using autodidactic materials.

  • Can we say like: "I have learned French by myself" ? Apr 10, 2018 at 6:09
  • 1
    Yes, you can, although it wouldn’t be my first choice.
    – CocoPop
    Apr 10, 2018 at 11:10

There may be a few people who say I self-learned it, but the typical idiomatic way of expressing the idea is to say "I am self-taught".


There are verbs of this type, i.e. you can find them in written language, e.g.

  • to fine-tune, to force-feed geese, to peer-review a text, to speed-read, to test-drive

Such formations are mainly found in articles where specialists write about their special field of activity. I think one should not exaggerate the use of these formations.

For "to self-learn" one might also say to learn without a teacher or to learn on one's own.

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