Am I glad to see you!

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Curiosity777

Senior Member
Korean
* Am I glad to see you!

It's my first time I've met this expression, but I don't completely understand why "Am" is placed before "I" and thought it would have derived from its interrogative form because it's the rule to place "Am" before a subject when to make a question, but interestingly, there's an answer on Quora that it has nothing to do with the interrogative but just an exclamatory expression.

I think such a structure can be explainable to think in this way that it's permitted to write such that when a speaker wants to emphasize a current situation "Am" but am not sure it'd be a reasonable thinking.

To add, I would like you to bring such examples as many as possible.
 
  • Greyfriar

    Senior Member
    Hello.

    It is in the form of a question (interrogative) and widely used as such. Definitely an exclamation!

    Other examples - Did I cry when I held that baby in my arms!
    Did he run when he knew there was a lion behind him!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    (In AE) there is often an expletive word before this common exclamation. The most common one is the non-offensive expletive "boy!" (which means the same as "wow!")

    Boy, am I lucky that cannonball missed me!
    Boy, am I glad to see you!
    Boy! I am very glad to see you.

    In spoken English the stress pattern is different from a declarative sentence.

    Boy, am I glad to see you!
    Am I glad to see you!
    I am glad to see you.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    An even more familiar rhetorical question: Is the pope Catholic? (indicating that something is screamingly obvious).

    But I would disagree with doji about emphasis. In my experience that sort of exclamation usually has the stress on the person: Am I glad to see you! (= you’re the very person I need here right now).
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Good point LB. To generalize your comment:

    People use stress to add meaning, and most sentences can be stressed in different ways to mean different things.

    The sentence is "Boy, am I glad to see you!"
    I assume one meaning in #4 ("thank goodness someone has arrived to replace me").
    LB assumes a different meaning in #5 ("thank goodness it is you, not someone else").
     

    Curiosity777

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you all!
    But I'm afraid that as a non-native speaker, it's extremely confusing for me to understand, not to say that there's no grammar books that teach about this structure.

    Anyways, cutting to the chase, are you all saying that that really has nothing to do with the interrogative in meaning although it's formed in the interrogative?

    I have no ideas how to interpret correctly such sentences formed that way. :(
    Still, I'm trying to understand it, reading your answers.
     
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    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Another way of looking at it is simply that it employs inversion for the purpose of emphasis.

    You may be interested in this abstract of an article on this subject.

    See also here under a. Exclamatory inversion.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Anyways, cutting to the chase, are you all saying that that really has nothing to do with the interrogative in meaning although it's formed in the interrogative?
    Nope, as used, it's meaning is nothing to do with a question at all. It's an exclamation of excitement. The tone of voice used and the rhythm are not like a question at all.

    But it's related to a question if you think of it as a two part saying with the first part being a rhetorical question and the second part usually omitted. (Part 1 rhetorical question / Part 2 answer)

    Am I glad to see you? You bet I am?

    The tone of voice in the first part implies the answer in the second part.

     

    Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    "Am I glad to see you" means "I am very glad to see you" -- never, "I'm not glad to see you." As it says in the OP, it emphasizes a current situation.

    I don't think of it as a question, but if it is, it's a question expecting an answer in the positive.

    Very often in AmE, this construction will include the word "ever," which adds emphasis but doesn't change the meaning much. The number of examples is virtually limitless: "Am I ever glad to see you"; "Is it ever cold"; "Was he ever upset"; etc.
     
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