oneself/ one's self


Senior Member
Hi, what's the difference between oneself and one's self?
Please look at the following example:
I recognize myself in many of the students who come into my office.
Can myself be replace by my self in this case?
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Myself is an emphatic and reflexive pronoun - so is oneself.

    My self is a possessive adjective followed by a noun.

    (Grammatical terms are on loan from the OED)

    I recognize myself in many of the students who come into my office.
    Figuratively, you see many features of your own personality in the students.

    I recognize my self in many of the students who come into my office.
    Somehow or other, you see the essence of your unique selfhood in the students.
    I would have said this was philosophically impossible.
    It does, of course, depend on which of many definitions of self you want to adopt.


    New Member
    Florentia52 told me to post my question here (which hasn't been answered anywhere on this forum, the question being: how is "something greater than oneself" in any way different from "something greater than one's self"?). I cut and paste the message I posted previously:

    Until recently, I thought I was good enough to translate an English interview into French, but I've been working on a translation for some days (because I was asked to do it by a great number of readers over the past year), and it makes me crazy, because on one hand I feel like I understand the text perfectly, and on the other I just can't find how to translate it correctly... into my OWN native language (which is French)! Anyway, I was wondering what's the difference between one's self and oneself in the following context:

    "Solitude is a bliss to whoever believes in something greater than one’s self and is open to meditation, contemplation or study, but it’s a pain for the great mass of our contemporaries because they can’t imagine anything above or outside themselves."

    Thank you!
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