Do I need to use "I am" twice in one sentence, or it is enough to use it only in the beginning? Where does this rule come from?

My example:

I am fluent in three languages and I am pursuing the XXX designation.


I am fluent in three languages and pursuing the XXX designation.

  • 3
    With your second iteration you are of course giving double duty to the auxiliary verb am, linking it in each case to an object. The problem is that the two objects are of a disparate sort. The first, fluent, is a predicate adjective, whilst the second, pursuing, is a present participle. And though I am confident they're not supposed to be mixed in this way, apprehending a definitive rule for something so nuanced may not be so easy. Perhaps merely these distinctions will aid you in your research. But I think most people would say that such a construction conveys what's intended just fine. Jan 24, 2012 at 17:07
  • That is a great point, Tom, you should turn it into an answer.
    – JeffSahol
    Jan 24, 2012 at 17:30
  • Still catching on here a bit. A simple copy and paste yeah, or some built-in means by which to accomplish such a conversion? Oh, and thanks. Jan 24, 2012 at 18:06
  • Borrowing a leaf from a fellow mod and a linguist, "Coordination of unlike constituents is known as syllepsis, and happens when the coordinated constituents are not parallel in meaning or in grammar." See Ellipsis that results in one word serving as both subject and object.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jan 24, 2012 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


I would suggest:

I am fluent in three languages and am pursuing the XXX designation.

because the person "I" is clear, but the "am" is needed to clarify that you are pursuing - is it at of the verb structure, I think.


If you use only one "am", you are committing syllepsis, forcing a single word to do unexpected double duty within the sentence, in this case first as a linking verb and second as part of the present participle construction.

As @Schroedingers Cat points out, the best way to resolve this is to repeat the "am" but leave the "I" off, as a fairly standard parallel construction.

(See this link for many fine examples of syllepsis.)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.