A common mistake when using “I’m”

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Today, our post is about the correct and incorrect use of “I’m”.  In last week’s post, I wrote about the difference between “I” and “me”. So this week, we’ll discuss how “I’m” is often incorrectly used.

Can we join you? Pretty please?

Here are some examples where “I’m” is incorrectly used.

I’m want to join your class.”
It should be
, “I want to join your class.”

I’m also get confused with this topic.”
It should be,
I also get confused with this topic.”

Why can’t we use “I’m” in the above sentences?

“I’m” is a contraction of “I am”. So every time you use “I’m”, you’re actually saying “I am”. Let me explain to you why the use of “I’m” in the above examples are incorrect. I’ll do my best not to confuse you!

Now, “am” is actually a verb.  Every *clause in a sentence has a verb.  As a rule, you cannot have two verbs or verb phrases in one clause – because the sentence just wouldn’t make sense.

*clause – a group of words, consisting of a subject and a predicate. A predicate is the part of a  clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject.

Let’s take the first incorrect example. I’ve highlighted the verbs in bold.

“I’m want to join your class.”
So what the sentence says is: “I am want to join your class.”

In the above sentence, there are two verbs: “am” and “want”. That’s why it’s incorrect.  Remove “am” so that there’s only one verb:

“I want to join your class.”

So how do we use “I’m” correctly?

As mentioned above, “am” is a verb. However, it can function as a helping verb. In other words, it’s helping another verb in a clause. But the verb that follows “I am” must have -ing. When this happens, “am + the -ing form of the verb” is called a verb phrase.

The example below which I’ve highlighted in bold shows the verb phrase.

“I am going on an adventure!” or “I’m going on an adventure!”

Remember, each clause must have only one verb or verb phrase. So in the above, “am going” is one verb phrase in the sentence. If it was “I am go on an adventure”, it wouldn’t make sense because “am” and “go” are two different verbs.

If this is confusing you, remember this:

  1. “I’m” is a contraction for “I am”.
  2. “Am” is a verb.
  3. “I’m” cannot have another verb in the same clause.
  4. “I’m” can only come with another verb that has -ing (present continuous form e.g. “I’m going”).

I really hope this post helps! If it does, please share this with your friends, family and colleagues. We’ve seen this mistake too many times and it’s time to get it right.

We’ll talk to you in our next blog post!

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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