rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

English grammar and usage issues

Moderator: Joe

Mo310
Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 Sep 2022, 15:25
Status: Trainee Teacher

rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

Unread post by Mo310 »

Hi, new teacher here. Came across the following sentence from a student... I know the contraction "I'm" sounds wrong here, but am having trouble identifying/explaining exactly why:

"I want to be more fluent in English than I'm now."

Thanks for any thoughts.
kdammers
Rising Star
Posts: 59
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 10:41
Status: DoS

Re: rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

Unread post by kdammers »

We don't use "I'm" at the end of a sentence. For example, "Are you sick"? - "Yes, I am." /*"Yes, I'm."
Mo310
Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 Sep 2022, 15:25
Status: Trainee Teacher

Re: rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

Unread post by Mo310 »

kdammers wrote: 23 Sep 2022, 13:22 We don't use "I'm" at the end of a sentence. For example, "Are you sick"? - "Yes, I am." /*"Yes, I'm."
Thanks, that's very helpful, hadn't known that.

Just to dig a little deeper, I wonder if there's something else that would explain why "I'm" sounds wrong in the student's sentence. To play devil's advocate a bit, the "I'm" isn't exactly at the end of the sentence, and there are some sentences where you could use "I'm" in this next-to-last position, e.g. "I'll do it as soon as I'm able."

Any additional thoughts on this? (and thanks again!)
kdammers
Rising Star
Posts: 59
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 10:41
Status: DoS

Re: rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

Unread post by kdammers »

I'm ( ;~} ) just thinking off the top of my head here, but here's an idea. "Able" is a predicate adjective, whereas "now" is an adverb (?) here. So, in a sense, "I am now" is saying "I am" plus some detail about my being. In other words, it has a sense of just "I am." On the other hand, in "I am able," "am" functions as a copula, with "able" not being a detail but rather the whole point of the short sentence.
As I said, this just my first thought on it, and there might be something else involved. I would love to hear thoughts from other people.

Your interesting question reminds me of a topic that I cover in my classes, where I disagree with (or "expand on") text-
books, to wit the difference between ""going to" and "will." ESL/EFL texts do not talk about the difference the long forms and the contracted forms, nor do they discuss intonation. As a result, they present "rules" which don't adequately reflect real-life usage by native speakers.
MarcusGohar
Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 16 Sep 2022, 07:21
Status: Teacher

Re: rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

Unread post by MarcusGohar »

John Field's Listening in the Language Classroom, (CUP 2008) devotes considerable time to the pronunciation of weak forms. Real-world pronunciation is very helpful for learners as it helps them recognise words and phrases in a continuous stream of real-world speech.
Mo310
Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 Sep 2022, 15:25
Status: Trainee Teacher

Re: rules for "I'm" versus "I am"

Unread post by Mo310 »

Thanks, really appreciate the additional thoughts (and that totally makes sense). Very interesting as well to hear your take on some textbook "rules"(!)... Cheers!
Post Reply