For a long time, I have been convinced that the use of the word am without the word I either before or after it is incorrect. For instance, saying Am going all by itself.

However, I recently ran a search on it to try and clear up the confusion, but that has left me even more confused than I was to begin with!

  • And your search result was?
    – mplungjan
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 12:03
  • 2
    Asking whether ok not to have a subject?
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 12:04
  • Am a bit confused here ;)
    – mplungjan
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 12:06
  • maybe your initial thoughts on the matter will help to guide the answerer
    – user49727
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 12:20

4 Answers 4


The pronoun is sometimes omitted in a text in note form. It is required otherwise, and it is usually present in speech.

  • 3
    Not in American speech, normally. I'm is the normal pronunciation and it tends to be present or absent as a unit, in cases of Conversational Deletion, for instance: Going to the store but *Am going to the store. Am always sounds strange when it gets isolated by conjunction reduction: I have got the bread and am coming home now. I Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 13:35
  • 1
    Or, "Forgot the bread and am on my way back to the store." Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 14:38

People will understand what you mean, but the only context in which you'll see it is a hastily written note or text message. In spoken English people would say "I'm ...". In some dialects this may sound like "Ahm", but it still means "I'm". It would definitely look like an error in a formal context.

You might encounter it spoken in a police or similar radio context, which has its own dialect and idiom: "Roger control, am proceeding to location bravo".


One case where we accept "am" with no pronoun is the childish rejoinder "Am not!" or "Am too!". For example, "You're stupid!" "Am not!" or "You're not going with us." "Am to!"

This might also happen in an informal note to someone. "Am going shopping. Back soon." I don't think I've ever heard anyone say this out loud, though.


In everyday speech pro-drop language is perfectly acceptable. No more needs to be said on this subject.

Although English does not fall into the category of classic pro-drop languages, pronoun-dropping occurs frequently both in formal and informal usage as the cited entry from wikipedia suggests:

English is considered a non-pro-drop language. Nonetheless, subject pronouns are almost always dropped in imperative sentences (e.g., Come here). In informal speech, pronouns may sometimes be dropped in other type of sentences, together with some other words, especially copulas and auxiliaries: [Have you] ever been there? [I'm] going to the shops. [[Do] you] want to come [with [me]]? Seen on signs: [I am/We are] out to lunch; [I/we will be] back at 1:00 [P.M]. What do you think [of it]? – I like [it]! (the latter only in some dialects) In speech, when pronouns are not dropped, they are more often elided than other words in an utterance. Relative pronouns are often dropped in short restrictive clauses: That's the man [whom] I saw. Note that these elisions are generally restricted to very informal speech and certain fixed expressions, and the rules for their use are complex and vary among dialects.

  • Can we have an example of where it is acceptable? And your link is about languages that don't need the pronoun at all, not about dropping it in certain situations.
    – terdon
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 14:22
  • the link provided answers all your questions.
    – user49727
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 14:24
  • and this very page contains ample good examples:)
    – user49727
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 14:27
  • 3
    No I don't seem to have missed it. You seem to be missing the relative unusualness ('may sometimes') of the dropping of the pronoun even in informal (everyday) speech (I'm quoting from the link you give here). Relatively unusual constructions are often not perfectly acceptable, and a cavalier 'No more needs to be said on this subject' is certainly unacceptable. Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 15:35
  • 2
    What @Edwin said. The text of this answer gives the misleading impression that pro-drop language is a recognised variant within English. But as the link points out, the term applies to languages, not variations within a language. And it says English is not a "pro-drop language", which accords with most people's perception that dropping the pronoun isn't normally acceptable (except in already-stilted contexts like txt msgs). Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 16:13

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