I was wondering about difference between "my" and "of mine" and have found some posts that say:

"my" is definite form and "of mine" is indefinite one. So, "of mine" is the same as "one of my".

It makes sense for most usecases I've heard, but I still don't understand what "this heart of mine" means. Can you help me?

P.S. Please forgive me for mistakes in this question, I'm not an English-speaking man.

  • 3
    "This heart of mine" is a phrase one would use in a poetic or literary text. The adjective this and the double-genitive structure "of mine" create an emphatic effect. "Look at this heart of mine!" But the basic meaning is very close to "my heart". We all know that a human has but one heart, so the interpretation "one of my hearts" is quite unlikely. Nov 16, 2015 at 18:59
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    @CopperK - True on all counts, but it's worth pointing out that the phrase works as advertised for other body parts, when we have more than one: "This finger of mine isn't healing very well" works just fine, for example.
    – J.R.
    Nov 16, 2015 at 19:09
  • @J.R. Indeed! If I say "my finger isn't healing very well", I must be sure that the other person knows exactly about which of my fingers I'm talking about. Nov 16, 2015 at 19:11
  • @CopperKettle , J.R., thank you for explanation! Can you convert your comment to an answer? I've just came here from other StackExchange services and it hurts me to see an answer that seems to be right but not accepted :) I believe that best answer should get a reward and people that will visit this page should see it. Nov 16, 2015 at 19:36
  • I'm too sleepy now to formulate a proper answer, it being almost 1 a.m. in Yekaterinburg.. (0: Nov 16, 2015 at 19:37

3 Answers 3


It is (often) an emphatic form.

So, tell me, Mrs Jones, about this son of yours! I hear he's an accomplished singer, mathematician, and painter.

This ol' heart of mine has been skipping a few beats lately, doc.

She'd better start cleaning up after that dog of hers!

"ole" or "ol'" = "old" (so-called "eye-dialect").


"This X of mine" is primary just a poetic or emphatic way of saying "my X". I heard "this heart of mine" in a song somewhere, can't place it at the moment. I've heard people say "this rotten job of mine" and such for emphasis.

If you were standing in front of a person and talking you might say "this X of mine" while pointing at the specific one you mean. That is, if, say, you owned two cars, you might say "this car of mine" while pointing at the one you are talking about, to make clear that you mean this one and not your other one. Because "my this car" or "this my car" sounds very awkward. I'm not quite sure if that would be considered grammatically correct or not.


Have found an answer in other question: Usage of phrase like "The friend of mine" by SF.:

of mine is an old construct that means not only possession but also emotional attachment.

It's currently rarely used outside of "Friend of mine". You could say "House of mine", or "School of mine", about places where you spent memorable moments of your life, or "child of mine" about your dearest baby. Saying "Lady of mine" is a fancy way of introducing your girlfriend or wife.

If you use it in context of common items, it will have comedic effect. Imagine yourself cradling a fork to your heart tenderly, and whispering "This is a fork of mine" with tears in your eyes - that's the right context for this usage.

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