Which is the correct word order?

He asked how am I.

He asked how I am.

I have heard both forms, I think latter one is correct, but so many people use the first one, that I'm not sure anymore...

I think it should rather be “He asked how I was”, no?

  • Possible duplicate of "What this thing was" vs "what was this thing"
    – user140086
    Apr 18, 2016 at 9:02
  • 1
    The distinction between "am I" or "I am" is an idiomatic one: both are correct grammatically. The difference between the present or past tense in this question depends on how accurately you want to consider the passage of time, since the statement is that at some time in the past, he asked how you were (then). But if, perhaps, he were asking about your state of being in the future, which might, for some brief period of time, be expressed most accurately with the present tense, then "I am" may be better. Yada yada yada---both sentences are grammatical with slightly different meanings.
    – modulus0
    Apr 18, 2016 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


He asked how I was is the more usual idiomatic form. He asked how I am is a possibility, but it suggests a more continuous sense of "I am".

He asked how am I is not grammatical, punctuated like that. He asked, "How am I?" is a soliloquy, in which he poses the question to himself.

  • Doesn't it need a comma before quotation marks?
    – Alex_ander
    Dec 12, 2018 at 5:56
  • @Alex_ander Yes it probably does. Sorry I missed that. I will correct.
    – WS2
    Dec 12, 2018 at 13:00

Both are correct, but they mean different things.

"He asked how I am" means that he inquired as to your well-being.

"He asked how am I" means that he had just given his rendition of Hamlet's soliloquy and he wanted your appraisal of his performance. (Though note that, in writing, it would be more condign to write "He asked 'How am I?'".)

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