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I'm not a native speaker, but somehow I assumed my English level to be decent enough for me to offer my help with an English text written by a Japanese colleague. I've fixed the most glaring errors, the few that I could find anyway, and at this point I'm pretty satisfied, but there is still this one sentence that lingers.

So, please tell me exactly how weird does this following sentence sound in your beautiful native ears:

My motivations, the things that always encourage me, are not only that I love my own hometown, but also that I want my children to love their own hometown too.

What I'm mostly concerned about is the use of "my own hometown." and "their own hometown". At first it sounded strange to me. But after some research it now sounds completely normal to my ears. (As in, I have no clue at all anymore.)

  • Isn't the "own" there to add emphasis on whose hometown it is? So "my own hometown" makes it completely redundant? But maybe the usage is still okay?
  • After reading it my mind suggests that "my hometown" and "their hometown" may be separate places, but I don't think this is what the author intended. Do you intercept that meaning as well, or is it negligible?
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    Perhaps it's slightly awkward with the word "own", but I would not have noticed had you not called attention to it. If you use "my hometown" / "their hometown" it will be perfectly clear and not awkward at all, I think. – Lemma Sep 2 '16 at 20:07
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Short answer: It sounds a little weird.

Long answer: As your research may have shown, "[poss. pronoun] + own" is grammatical English, as per this Oxford Dictionaries definition:

1.2 Particular to the person or thing mentioned; individual:

[as adjective]: the style had its own charm

[as pronoun]: the film had a quality all its own

See especially the second example "the style had its own charm."

Adding in "own" can be used for emphasis. For example, imagine this dialogue:

"Wow, that's a nice dress. Is it your sister's?"

"No, it's my own."

It's one of those turns of phrase that's hard to think about. It just has to naturally slip in there. I have the impression it's more common in spoken English than in written English, but I have no data to support that claim.


About your question:

  • Personally, I feel "My own hometown" sounds a little bit redundant, because the relationship is implied in "hometown" already. I would remove it.

  • There's something to be said for the parallelism between the speaker's and their children's hometown. It's a choice of writing style at this point, but I would still stylistically remove it, but it wouldn't be wrong to keep it.

  • "Their own hometown" is better because it implies that their hometown is not the same as the first speaker's hometown. In fact, it's a very good turn of phrase to imply the speaker feels strongly about their hometown, but hopes that their children will develop similar feelings about the (different) town they're being raised in.

After reading it my mind suggests that "my hometown" and "their hometown" may be separate places, but I don't think this is what the author intended. Do you intercept that meaning as well, or is it negligible?

Yes, that's precisely what it says. I imagine the majority of readers would understand this sentence that way. If you wanted to imply it was the same hometown, you could say "... my children to love (it) too."

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  • You're right that it's redundant, but I quite like it. Seems more like a literary use of repetition than a mistake. – Lemma Sep 2 '16 at 20:10
  • @Lemma Oops. i had a section on that, but accidentally removed it. I would still remove it but that's my opinion. – Azor Ahai -him- Sep 2 '16 at 20:12

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