Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you say By Yourself or On Your Own in English?

Today, in #2 of our Top 15 Fixes series, we discuss these two phrases and how to use them when you’re doing something alone!

By yourself and on your own are two phrases that may look different, but their meanings are essentially identical.  Both are used to say that you’ve done something alone, rather than with others.

  • Are you completing this project by yourself?
  • Are you completing this project on your own?

Even though their meaning is the same, you want to be careful that you don’t mix up the prepositions between these phrases. The best way to avoid that is to learn each one as a chunk.  And the best way to do that is to practice!


Michelle and Lindsay are discussing what they do when they have some free time.

Michelle: I’m going to be on my own this weekend since my family is out of town.

Lindsay: What are you going to do with all your free time!

Michelle: Well, when I’m by myself, I love to curl up with a good book. I’ll have some more time though, so maybe I’ll meet up with some friends. What do you do when you’re on your own?

Lindsay: I’m the same- I love reading when I’m by myself. I also spend time meditating, and it’s easier to focus when I’m on my own.

Michelle: Do you like spending time on your own?

Lindsay: For sure. I think everyone needs time with their own thoughts.

Michelle: Yeah, when I’m by myself in a car or on a walk, sometimes I love that time to just think.


Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

What do you like to do by yourself?

What do you like to do alone?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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