Here I am/Here am I

  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think "Here I am" sounds complete (although it can be followed by something), but if I hear "Here am I..." I would expect some more information about what the person is doing "here", it would sound very odd, or perhaps old-fashioned, if not followed by something. It's a bit "rhetorical" or whimsical sounding, I guess, whereas "Here I am" is more declarative.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here I am.
    A simple statement of fact - typically in response to a yelled question, "Where are you?"

    Here am I.
    Similarly, a simple statement of fact BUT this version has a literary sound and cultural resonances not least because of its use in the King James version of the Bible
    4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
    5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me.
    Source
     

    hamlet

    Senior Member
    Français (FR)
    So basically it's the same meaning. Yet when you say 'here you are' it's like saying 'here you go'. Not really an indication of place is it
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Actually, besides being the answer of the simple question:"Where are you?" "Here I am" can have more subtle meanings too.

    Example: In the end of the movie Spiderman 2, MJ ran from her wedding to Peter's flat and said something like she chose to stay with him even though she knew that there would be a lot of danger in front of them (Peter being the Spiderman), and she said: "So here I am, standing in front of your door, I've always been standing in front of your door."
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    So basically it's the same meaning. Yet when you say 'here you are' it's like saying 'here you go'. Not really an indication of place is it
    The phrase "here you go" is more versatile. In addition to the meaning you give it can be an indication of place or location.

    I've been looking all over for you. Here you are, sitting in front of your computer. Why didn't you answer me when I called your name? ...

    This is the location.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    And in this context it couldn't be "So here am I, in front of your door, etc."?
    No, frankly, you are unlikely to want to say "here am I", not in normal speech. It's kind of poetic, literary, rhetorical, historical, etc.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    No, frankly, you are unlikely to want to say "here am I", not in normal speech. It's kind of poetic, literary, rhetorical, historical, etc.
    Yes, as in David Bowie's 1969 song Space Oddity:

    Here am I sitting in a tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet earth is blue
    And there's nothing I can do.


    Loob


     

    liulia

    Senior Member
    English/French
    In "Here am I" the emphasis is more on the "I".
    There is some biblical text, psalm or hymn (can't remember which) where the Lord asks, "Whom shall I send?" and the response is "Here am I!" i.e., "Send me!"

    In "Here I am" there is no special emphasis.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In "Here am I" the emphasis is more on the "I".
    There is some biblical text, psalm or hymn (can't remember which) where the Lord asks, "Whom shall I send?" and the response is "Here am I!" i.e., "Send me!"

    In "Here I am" there is no special emphasis.
    See post #4 :)

    Also (this is more likely to be the bit you remember):
    Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
    Source
    All of which suggests, I think, that the "here am I" version was the normal version back in 1611, "here I am" is normal now.
     

    brilliantpink

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    In fact, "Here am I" is archaic (as witness all the examples from the King James bible, translated in the 1500s). So if you use it, you will sound archaic. No one says it in everyday speech. You can use it in a poem or song, like the David Bowie song cited earlier.
     
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