The formation of a professional identity will involve the interplay of many complex factors and its character is responsive to various influences. It may appear to be an emergent sense of professional self or it may be more developed. The exact nature of the role that is played by teachers’ perceptions of their subject in shaping their professional identities, especially when the particular discipline itself is open to contestation about its own meaning, is uncertain. This cross-case study analyses how both experienced and preservice English teachers describe their professional identities through an exploration of the ways in which their discourses construct the professional self and through a consideration of the role of their teaching subject in this construction. The professional identity of those who teach English is observed to be something highly personalised, it represents unique aspects drawn from the self and the subject, which manifest themselves in different ways depending on the individual’s particular context of work.