Recently I came across a sentence:

Last week,my friend asked me how I am and I said (...).

To me this sounds completely wrong, as both happened in the past, I would expect it to be "how I was" rather than "how I am".

Is this reasoning correct or is my grammar knowledge incomplete?

  • 1
    Please site the source. Was it from a text book, Twitter, a novel etc.?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 26, 2020 at 13:12
  • I can't find the exact URL, it was just a buzzfeed article, I think.
    – Work of Artiz
    Apr 26, 2020 at 13:16
  • It's important to know the context. And it's important to know how the sentence ends.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 26, 2020 at 13:17
  • Could this sentence be correct, given the friend did not ask about how she will be one week in the future?
    – Work of Artiz
    Apr 26, 2020 at 13:18
  • 1
    Look up direct and indirect/reported speech. It's difficult to answer your questions without knowing the full context
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 26, 2020 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


This is an example of reported speech that has not been backshifted.

It is common and correct to "backshift" when changing from direct quote to reported speech.

My friend asked me, "How are you?" (direct quote)

My friend asked me how I was. (correct and backshifted)

But while it is common, it is not a requirement for correct grammar:

My friend asked me how I am. (correct and not backshifted)