I believe all the following stetments are quite used and it seems all of them is grammatically correct.

  • I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way?... ― Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Maybe, but I couldn't do it, I had buried too much too deeply inside me. And here I am, instead of there. ― Jonathan Safran Foer

  • Here am I, a little animal called a man--a bit of vitalized matter, one hundred and sixty-five pounds ... ― Jack London

My question, When and why do we need to use second (here I am) and third (here am I) options? and what is the grammar form of them?


2 Answers 2


In the context of your examples:

  • The first has an implied "still": I am still here; I continue to participate.
  • The second refers to the location or situation: I could have been somewhere else or in some other situation, but I am here or in this situation, instead.
  • The third introduces myself and goes on to describe me.

The three phrases are somewhat ambiguous. "Here I am" could just as well have been used in the first example in terms of meaning, but it sounds more melodious to have the first two sentences mirror the same construction. "Here am I" wouldn't really fit the first example.

"I am here" could have been used for the second example. But "I am here instead of there" sounds a little trivial (answers "where am I?"), while "here I am instead of there" stresses the "here" to provide better focus on the point of the sentence (a comparison between "here" and "there"). Again, "here am I" doesn't really fit this usage.

Both "I am here" and "here I am" could be used in the third example, but "Here am I" is better. That sequence is like a form of presentation or introduction. It introduces me and then goes on to describe me.

There are a number of other ways the three phrases can be used. For example, "I am here" could relate my location (e.g., uttered while pointing to a map or answering the question, "Where are you?"), or announcing the fact that I have arrived.

"Here I am" could be similarly used, but you probably wouldn't use it while pointing to a map because the map location would be an abstraction while "here I am" would refer to your current actual physical location.

"Here am I" isn't typically used in conversation. The only way I've ever seen it used is to present or introduce yourself as if you where someone else doing the honors. If you're familiar with the old TV program, The Tonight Show, the announcer would introduce the host, Johnny Carson, with, "Here's Johnny!". This is similarly introducing yourself, "Here am I."


Both 'I am here' and 'here I am' are commonly used as a way of identifying your location. 'I am here' is used to aggressively declare your location to everyone, and can be used as a way of claiming the territory you stand on. 'Here I am' is a less strong statement and may be in response to someone searching for or looking for you. If someone says "Shannak, where are you?" you might respond with "Here I am."

The last variation "Here am I", although not rare, tends to be a less common usage, and is normally used only in prose, poetry, song, and some literature, where changing the usual word order may occur to add 'art'. It might be spoken as part of a play, but is not normally used in common spoken English.

  • 'I am here' has no 'aggression' connotations. 'Here I am' sounds more profound, but, 'I was not here but here I am' - vs. 'I am here', 'I am here as opposed to there'. 'Here I am' is often used in peekaboo games, 'Where am I?' - the 'here I am' is to juxtapose that before I was not here, vs 'Where are you?' 'I am here!'. It's a bit intuitive, if anyone has a better explanation of why, please say.
    – Vix
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 10:38

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