Reflexive Pronoun: Āphū

Can you learn a language by yourself

The answer depends on you, but do you know what is a reflexive pronoun? Notice how the above statement uses the word ‘yourself’. The word ‘yourself’ is a reflexive pronoun. A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun which describes the subject itself. (or so according to its Nepali Definition)

In English, it is shown by compounding -self/selves to a personal pronoun. In Nepali, there is one word to display reflexives: आफू (aafu)

Usually, aafu is translated into as ’Oneself’ or ’One’s Self’. It typically gets converted into ’yourself’ or ’myself’, depending on the context.

Note that, आफू (aafu) has quite a few forms, such as:

Possessive ‘आफ्नो’ (aafno

Emphatic ‘आफै’ (aafai)   [gives more emphasis]


Take the following Sentence:

सबैजना, काम आफै गर (sabai jana, kaam aafai gara)

= Everyone, do work yourselves.

As I said earlier, the English translation of आफै (aafai) gets converted depending on the context. Saying ’oneselves’ instead of ’yourselves’ is rather weird sounding, right? 


 आफै घर जान्छु (ma aafai ghar jaanchu)

= I go home by myself.

Usually, the personal pronoun (like म here) is omitted when we use reflexives. Rather, the verb itself tells us who the subject is. That means, you can say:

आफै घर जान्छु (aafai ghar jaanchu)

= (I) go home by oneself.


Conjugation of the verb plays a very vital role in ’not’ screwing up the context of the sentence. If you used a third person conjugation, then:

आफै घर जान्छ (aafai ghar jaancha)

= (It) goes home by itself.

So, do take care with the conjugations!


Postpositions (aka Particles) can also be added to the sentence. In such, the meanings change slightly too. 

आफूमा भरोसा राख्न सिक्नुपर्छ (aafu ma bharosa raakhna siknuparcha)

= (One) should learn to keep trust in oneself.


आफूलाई भोक लाग्दैन (aafu lai bhok laagdaina)

= (I) don’t feel hungry myself.


रामले आफुलाई सराप्यो (ram le aafu lai sarapyo)

= Ram cursed himself.


As you might know from the lesson ’Oblique Case in Pronouns’, the word आफू (aafu) obliques to show possession. So, the possessive form of आफू (aafu) is आफ्नो (aafno). Aafno usually means something like ’our’, ’one’s’ or ’own’. (depending on context)

आफ्नो आँखा सफा राख्नुपर्छ (aafno aakha safa raakhnuparcha)

= (One) must Keep one’s eyes clean.


When we use आफ्नो (aafno), it functions as an adjective. In English, this is reflected in translations as:

One’s X     /OR/      Own X


त्यो मेरो आफ्नो घर हो (tyo mero aafno ghar ho)

= That is my own home.


राम आफ्नो गाउँमा गयो होला (ram aafno gau ma gayo hola)

= Ram might have gone to (his) own village.


आफुले गर्‍यो भने अरुले सुख पाउँछ (aafu le garyo bhane aru le sukha paaucha)

= If (one) oneself does (it), then others will receive peace. (fig.: If one does it, then others will benefit) 

Do note here that ‘one’ is not a quantity here!


I had said earlier that ’aafu’ is also an intensive pronoun. That means, it provides ’emphasis’ or ’intensity’. Nothing confusing, it is just like ’myself’ in ‘I myself did this work’. When used as such, it must always appear in the emphatic form, i.e. ‘आफै’ (aafai)

Example Sentence:

मैले यो काम आफै गरेँ (maile yo kaam aafai gare)

= I myself did this work.


Some more sentences:

आफै उठ्छु, आफै गर्छु (aafai uthchu, aafai garchu)

= (I) wake up myself, (I) do (it) myself.


मैले आफ्नो जिन्दगी आफै मा भर पर्छ (aafno jindagi aafaima bhar parcha)

= Our life depends on ourself.


हामी आफ्नो भाग्य आफै नियन्त्रण गर्छौँ (hami aafno bhaagya aafai niyantran garchau)

= We control our own destiny.


आफ्नो भविष्य आफै बनाउनुपर्छ (aafno bhawishya aafai banaaunuparcha)

= We should make our own future.


Sorry I have not been posting lessons for so long. I am quite busy these days, not giving me enough time to tend this site. I do try my best to post, though. Apologies.




1. (You) should bring your own lunch.

2. घार त्यहाँ छ जहाँ आफ्नो मुटुभित्र छ 

ANSWERS (for illustrative purposes only)

1. तिमीले आफ्नो खाजा आफै ल्याउनुपर्छ 

2. Home is there where one’s heart is