Sometimes, we use contractions in our writing to make things quicker to write and easier to understand. Using “I’m” in place of “I am” is one such example of this, but when is it correct to use each form?
Which Is Correct I’m Or I Am?
I’m should be used when writing informally and wanting to contract the phrase “I am”. It can only be used before a phrase noun, like “I’m a man.” I am should be used when writing formally or emphasizing a noun. Examples: “A man, I am” or “I am a man.”
Example Usage Of I’m
It’s one thing for us to tell you the rules, but it’s another thing for you to see the contraction in action. We’ll start with using “I’m” in an example.
It’s the most common form to use when speaking, as it saves time and doesn’t require two syllables to pronounce. You can also write it informally to contract the phrase “I am” before a phrase noun.
- I’m on my way to see you.
- I’m not sure you know what you’re doing.
- I’m okay.
- I’m here to help.
- I’m happy for you.
- I’m ready when you are.
Most of these examples are fairly common sentences you might come across in English. Since people talk in the first-person singular, they use the pronoun “I” a lot. It’s probably the most common pronoun used in English. That means that the contraction “I’m” is a very common phrase that you need to get used to as well.
Writing the verb “to be” (or “am” in this case) is common after the pronoun “I” because it expresses your intent. It tells people that you’re ready to do something or planning on doing something. That’s why “I’m” is such a common word.
Remember, though; it’s mainly used for speaking or informal writing.
Examples Usage Of I Am
Now let’s see when we might use “I am” in situations. This is a common phrase to use for two main reasons.
You use “I am” formally (mostly when writing letters). You can also use it to emphasize a noun in a sentence, either by writing “I am” before it and stressing the “am” or writing it afterward, mixing up the sentence structure to emphasize your point.
- I am here; you just haven’t noticed me!
- I am so happy to hear back from you.
- I am writing regarding our recent conversation.
- I am updating you about your wellness plan.
- I am uncomfortable with you knowing any more details.
- I am unsure you have your facts correct.
In all of these examples, we’ve included “I am” at the start of the sentence. While it’s possible to include it afterward, like “a man, I am,” it’s not a very common phrase. It’s outdated, and very few people will write or talk like this anymore.
You’ll notice that with most of these examples, we’re writing in a more formal format. Formal writing rules usually tell us that contractions aren’t allowed. It’s because contractions are seen as lazy or rushed, which are two traits you don’t want to appear in formal writing.
Can I Use I’m In A Formal Letter?
Generally speaking, you want to use “I am” in place of “I’m” in a formal letter or document of any kind.
While the recipient may vary, and you might know them well enough to write “I’m” without consequence, it’s still not worth the risk. “I’m” is a contraction reserved for more informal documents and writing. It’s also more common to use in speaking and should be left out of formal writing for that reason.
When writing a formal letter and talking about something using the phrase, make sure you write “I am.”
- I am writing this letter to inform you…
- I am writing regarding your recent letter…
- I am writing to inform you of my proposal…
Any of those three phrases work well to initiate a letter. You can see how using “I’m” in place of “I am” might be received poorly. Most people will stop paying attention to the remaining content of your letter if you get off on the wrong foot, making “I’m” a no-go for proper grammar and letter writing.
Should I Capitalize “I’m” In The Middle Of A Sentence? (I’m Or I’m)
Many people get confused about the capitalization rules of “I’m” in the middle of a sentence. Since other words in a sentence are left uncapitalized unless they’re proper nouns, when is the right time to capitalize “I’m?”
You should always capitalize “I’m.” The pronoun “I” is always capitalized, no matter where it is in a sentence. That means the contraction of “I am” always includes a capital, making “I’m” capitalized no matter where it is.
Correct:If you are here, I’m happy to help out now!
Incorrect:I need some help, i’m lost!
Correct:Hello there, I’m George!
Incorrect:Howdy, i’m Smith!
Is I’m Considered A Word?
“I’m” is a contraction. Contractions are a part of English language rules that people seem to struggle with whether or not they’re words.
However, “I’m” is considered a word and is perfect to use in most situations. The only times you won’t use it is in formal writing. There are plenty of other informal words out there that aren’t used in formal writing, but they’re all still considered words, too.
So, if anyone asks you whether you’re writing a real word when using “I’m,” tell them that it is. It’s a contraction of the phrase “I am,” but just like “it’s” is a contraction of “it is,” they’re both still usable and recognizable words.
Im Vs I’m
Finally, you must always make sure you use the apostrophe between the “I” and the “M.”
“I’m” is a contraction, and an apostrophe indicates that there are originally two words being combined. Without the apostrophe, “Im” would be pronounced like “him” without the “H” and wouldn’t make sense as a word.
Apostrophes are important additions when contracting any word. Just like “it’s” or “there’s,” make sure “I’m” always has one.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.