Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard somebody say something like “I’ve got to get some cleaning done today. This apartment isn’t going to clean itself.”

This is a phrase in English that is quite common, and yet it may sound a bit confusing to you.

Today we are going to talk about this fun little expression you can use to add a little spunk to your English.

We already used it in the question above where when it said “This apartment isn’t going to clean itself.”

What does that mean?

We’re going to look at this phrase and others like it so that you can understand how it works, as well as how you can use it in your conversations.

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Looking At This Common Phrase

So you may have heard the phrase “this isn’t going to clean itself” or something like it.

Does this seem like an odd expression?

If you look at this phrase in particular it means that if you didn’t do it, then it wouldn’t get done.

If you don’t clean the apartment, it’s not going to happen or get completed.

You are showing in an instance like this that you have to be responsible, whether you want to or not.

So it’s not often used in a positive way, and it often expresses some sort of frustration in a scenario.

This expression is broken down by -this/these _______________ isn’t/aren’t going to ______ itself/themselves.

This is a very popular expression, and you are likely to hear it used often.

What does it do?

Ultimately this phrase helps to show responsibility in some manner.

If you say it about yourself, it may be about a task you need to get done.

You can almost picture saying this with a little sigh or grunt, maybe because you don’t want to do it or you wish you had some help.

Examples Of This If You’re Talking To Yourself

It can be very helpful to look at some examples so that you can see how this might work.

When you see these, then you can start to get a sort of feel or context for how this can work in your own conversations.

Let’s look at a couple of examples of when you might use this sort of phrase in talking to yourself about something that has to get done.

“Ok I gotta get started on my work. This paper isn’t going to write itself.”

“I need to get a new job. These bills aren’t going to pay themselves.”

This adds so much color to explaining something you have to do.

It makes it tangible and you can envision it very easily.

You have to say it with a certain tone of voice, as it’s kind of sarcastic sounding.

Think of instances where you might use this, so that you can start to envision this for yourself.

Examples Of This If You’re Talking To Somebody Else

Now let’s talk about this in the context if you are speaking to someone else.

There may be plenty of instances where you might use this in conversation with somebody else, but you do want to be mindful of the way in which you use it.

You can envision this if you are a parent talking to a child, or even a couple talking to one another.

If you use it to talk about someone else, it may be construed as slightly rude, showing that you are somehow acting like you are the boss.

It really depends on your relationship with the person you are saying this to.

A boss could say it, but it may come across from or be quite harsh.

Remember this is all about individual relationships, the context you use it in, and if you are using this expression in a way to be humorous.

Let’s look at a couple examples of this in this capacity.

“Can you clear the sink? Those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves!”

“You need to study. Those tests aren’t going to pass themselves.”

“Come on, time to get yourself groomed. Those nails aren’t going to cut themselves!”

You could use it to talk to a colleague or teammate, like in a school sort of setting.

“Should we practice? That presentation isn’t going to make itself.”

The main idea is that you have to do something, and nobody will do it for you.

How does this impact you?

Can you think of instances where you might use this phrase?

Always remember that it’s about the context and the relationship to the person you are talking to, and then it can be a phrase that may work well for you particularly with sarcasm.


This is a super fun but snarky expression, and you want to be sure that you are using it in the right way and at the right time.

Listen for it in conversations so that you can get a feel for how it works.

It’s all about the relationship that you have with the person you are using it with.

It also should fit the right setting or context so that you don’t come off as being too harsh or bossy.

It’s a great phrase to use, so start practicing it and see how it can work for you in the right setting.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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