'on one's own' VS 'by oneself'

powerlt

New Member
Chinese
I always use 'by oneself' to describe the meaning of 'do something along'.

For instance: He went shopping by himself.
She finished the work by herself.
I used to live in the house by myself.

Could I use 'on one's own" in those sentences? Which one is better or is more used in AE?

Thanks a lot and happy new year.
 
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I always use 'by oneself' to describe the meaning of 'do something along'.

    For instance: He went shopping by himself. Here, I don't think on his own would work because the meaning is alone. On one's own is usually used for doing things without the help or efforts of anyone else, unless you mean that it is a big accomplishment to go shopping for him, but I don't think that's what's intended.
    She finished the work by herself. This could mean that she finished the work alone, or that she did it unassisted. There is a difference, even if it is subtle, between them. I suppose context guides the reader/listener to one meaning or the other. On her own could be used I think to stress the no one helped her part.
    I used to live in the house by myself. Here I wouldn't use on my own. You could say I used to live on my own, but in this sentence, by myself is what I'd use.

    Could I use 'on one's own" in those sentences? Which one is better or is more used in AE?

    Thanks a lot and happy new year.
    Let's wait to see if others agree with me or not.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Hi,

    Let me make sure of one thing.

    He is only twelve years old but lives on his own. He works at a convenience store for two hours before going to school.

    In that context, by himself does not make sense, but all by himself is OK.

    Am I right?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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