8

"I'm hungry."
"So am I."

Please reveal the reason behind saying "So am I".

It seems it has an interrogative structure. Is it wrong to say "So I am" ?

  • So am I (so do I, etc.) is a correct response to signify the person you're talking too you feel like them. You cannot use "So I am" in that case. See here or here or here. – Laure Jan 25 '14 at 15:39
  • Thank you J.R for edit and also thank you Laure but I know its usage, I want to know about its structure. Why do we say "So am I" instead of "So I am"? – user3214 Jan 25 '14 at 15:48
  • 1
    Perhaps it's because that's the way it is. "So am I" has been used like this since at least 1837 (The Principle of English Grammar). – Damkerng T. Jan 25 '14 at 16:39
  • @Dankerng Thank you, Ngram Viewer shows that first use of it goes back to 1852 :) – user3214 Jan 25 '14 at 16:56
  • It can be found in Shakespeare, and I expect earlier. – Laure Jan 25 '14 at 17:44
6

Very often in a language there's no reason why we say one thing and not the other and it is merely a question of usage.

But you should be aware that both "So am I" and "So I am" exist and are not used in the same instances.

So - Aux/V - S A: "I'm hungry"  S1 - Aux/V - specification of S1
B: "So am I"  So (an echo of specification of S1) - Aux/V - S2

The subject of the Aux/V represent a different person in the two sentences. "So am I" being the same as saying "Me too". To contradict A, B would say : "I'm not".

Compare with:

So - S - Aux/V

A: "You are tired"  S1 - Aux/V - specification of S1
B: "So I am"  So (an echo of specification of S1) - S1 - Aux/V

In this example "you" and "I" both represent B. "So" would be stressed when spoken.

Other ways of responding could be :
" Yes, I am"
" You're right"
" Indeed"...

To contradict A, B would say "I'm not", same as in first example.

5

I agree with the two previous answers.

If you want more exact explication to that, I modify the sentence by using commas.

A: I am hungry.

B: So am I. /I am, too / Me, too.

B literally says that "You're hungry. I'm hungry too."

Or:

A: I am hungry.

B: So, am I?

B says that "You're hungry. So, am I hungry?". This would mean the interrogative structure you meant in your question.

Or:

A: I am hungry.

B: So, I am.

B says that "You're hungry. That's why (so), I'm hungry too."

That's how English works for this kind of elliptical sentence. This happens with neither am I (or I am not either) too.

1

In this context "so" has similar meaning to that of "also" or "likewise".

"I'm hungry." "So am I."

is similar in meaning to:

"I'm hungry." "I am also hungry."

However the rule for such usage is that "So" must be followed by an auxiliary verb or do, have, or be used as main verbs.

However, if so is followed my a noun/pronoun (like in your case of "So I am") it has a different meaning like"

  1. Apparently; e.g. So you think you've got troubles?

  2. used to introduce a sentence expressing resignation, amazement, or sarcasm. e.g. so you're publishing a book!.

and many more.

But for it to mean "also" or "likewise" you must follow it with an auxiliary verb or do, have or be.

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