I really wonder. Like, sometimes we use "I'm", and sometimes we use "I am".

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, Robusto, Janus Bahs Jacquet, Centaurus, tchrist Apr 26 '15 at 14:00

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'I'm' is merely a contraction of 'I am'.

From Wikipedia:

A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters (actually, sounds). In traditional grammar, contraction can denote the formation of a new word from one word or a group of words, for example, by elision. This often occurs in rendering a common sequence of words or, as in French, in maintaining a flowing sound.

'I'm' is always used in conjunction with a noun phrase. You cannot write "A boy, I'm", but you can write "A boy, I am". 'I'm' may also be considered informal outside speech or a literary scope.

'I am' is also longer to pronounce, and therefore has more emphasis (as pointed out by one of the answers).

  • 1
    And when would you use one form instead of another? Are there exceptions? Are they always interchangeable? Please, edit the post to make your answer appear more complete. – Mari-Lou A Apr 26 '15 at 10:09
  • So add that to your answer. Make the answer full and complete in itself, without the need to refer to comments, and including any corroborative evidence you can find. – Andrew Leach Apr 26 '15 at 10:11
  • So, can you say Yes, I'm.? – Mari-Lou A Apr 26 '15 at 11:36
  • @Mari-LouA: No, and I've pointed that out. – Vatsal Manot Apr 26 '15 at 11:38
  • Not clearly enough. :) But now you have. – Mari-Lou A Apr 26 '15 at 11:42

Emphasis is the only difference I can think of in spoken English, besides "I am" sounding more formal. Also, there are those who say we should try to avoid the use of contractions in formal written English.

Yes, I'm going.

Yes, I am going.


People might tell you that contractions are generally bad in "formal" writing situations like for a class writing assignment or a business communication, and that contractions are for private use.

This rule may have some nugget of old wisdom, but I believe a person who is on their toes will keep awareness on this imperative of style: it's about the eye of the beholder.

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