“I am” is one of the most basic words in the English language. When you first start learning how to speak English, “I am” will likely be learned in lesson one. But have you ever considered what some alternatives might be?
Today, we’ll take a look at some alternatives to “I am” and delve into why it’s such a strangely interesting phrase.
What are other ways to say “I am”?
To identify other ways to say “I am”, you will have to change the tense of the sentence. So instead of “I am walking”, you could say “I walk”. You could also replace the phrase “I am going to” with just “I will”. “Because I am” can be replaced by “As a”.
What tense “I am” is in.
The phrase “I am” is usually written in the present tense. Although it can be in the future tense, which we’ll get onto later.
In the present tense, the phrase is most commonly said in the “Present Continuous”. And I know that sounds like something only English teachers know about, but it’s really not as confusing as you might think.
Present continuous just means it’s happening right now. For example, “I am reading a book”.
It can also refer to something temporary. For example “I am working in the pub until the summer”.
I am Verbing
When you have a sentence that follows the “I amverbing” structure, you can change it to simply “Iverb”. This changes the sentence from the present continuous to the present simple.
You can replace “I am living in England” with “I live in England”.
As you can see, we need to get rid of the “am”, get rid of the “ing”, and sometimes even add an “e” to the end.
Unlike the present continuous, the present simple refers to generic facts and not necessarily what is happening at the moment.
Examples of “I am verbing”
To help you understand even better, let’s look at a few examples of what we mean.
The sentence “I am running to work” is in the present continuous. We’re talking about an action that I am doing right now.
However, if we change it to “I run to work”, we are now talking about how I get to work. It does not mean that I am running to work as we speak.
“I am writing my new book” Could be changed to, “I write my book after I eat dinner”.
“I am eating pizza” because I am hungry. “I eat pizza” because it’s delicious.
I am going to
When you plan on doing something in the future, you would usually write your desires in the future tense. And a very popular phrase is “I am going to”.
For example, I might say, “I am going to go to the park”. You can replace “I am going to” with “I will”, “I shall”, or even just “I’ll”.
Although it should be noted, “I am going” can also mean “I am currently on my way to”. If this is the case, you can’t replace it with “I will”. You can’t say “I will the park”.
Examples of “I am going to”
I am going to take the high road on your graduation line.
I will take the high road on your graduation line.
I am going to request a state fair in August
I shall request a state fair in August
I am going to have a heart attack.
I’ll have a heart attack.
I am going to send you a list of fruit varieties to order from Thailand.
I will send you a list of fruit varieties to order from Thailand.
I am going to dip you in hot sauce
I shall dip you in hot sauce
When “I am” has no synonyms
There are some times when “I am” just needs to stay there. At these times, there are no synonyms or replacements that could be used.
This is when you’re describing what you are. Not what you do. Or what you’re doing right now. But something that is always true and unlikely to ever not be true.
For example, “I am English” or “I am human”.
Because I am
And the final way to replace “I am” would be in the sentence “Because I am”. Here, you can replace “Because I am” with simply “As a”.
Instead of saying, “Because I am an Englishman, I think tea should never be made in the microwave”. I could say, “As an Englishman, I think tea should never be made in the microwave”.
This trick could be helpful when you wish to come across as formal or very well-spoken. It can also help you come across as a voice of authority, and not just someone giving their opinion.
Examples of “Because I am”
I offered citations, regardless, because I am intellectually honest enough to show that my claims are based upon demonstrable reality.
As an intellectually honest person, I offered citations to show that my claims are based upon reality.
I am vaxxed but will still wear my mask in public because I am immunosuppressed.
As an immunosuppressed person, I will still wear my mask in public. Even though I’ve been vaxxed.
Because I am a teacher, I don’t like the new budget cuts.
As a teacher, I don’t like the new budget cuts.
Because I’m a man, I deserve to vote.
As a man,I deserve to vote.
When we first learn the basic English phrases like “I am”, it’s rare that any of us will have given them much thought. But hopefully, this article has convinced you that there is more to the humble “I am” than would first appear.
Finding an alternative to “I am” is not quite as simple as opening a dictionary. We’ll need to change the tense, the subject and tweak a few other parts of the sentence.
“I am” is a fundamental building block of the English language. Without it, it’s hard to imagine what our language would be like. I am glad you took the time to read this.