5

Which statement is more appropriate?

  1. Is that what really am?
  2. Is that what I really am?

And instead of "what", can I use "how" and have the same meaning?

The person saying the statement thinks of himself as something like a coward, then he questions himself. I was thinking "Is that what I really am?" was more appropriate because "am" is always used with "I" but I'm not sure. "Is that what really am?" sounds fine to me too.

  • you need to provide us with more information. Clarify the context. This question, what it is now, is too broad to answer. – Maulik V Jun 1 '15 at 5:45
  • In the context, the person telling the statement thinks of himself as something like a coward. And then he asks himself. I was thinking "Is that what I really am?" was more appropriate because "am" as I know is always used with "I" but I'm not sure. And "Is that what really am?" seems sounds fine? – asx3e Jun 1 '15 at 5:54
  • yes, that's clear now. Vote retracted. – Maulik V Jun 1 '15 at 6:11
5

The first sentence is incorrect. You cannot leave out the I, otherwise you would have no subject in your subclause.

Your verb always needs a subject, unless it is in the imperative form. The subject van sometimes also be left out when your sentence has the same subject as another sentence: through ellipsis. For example:

He did the dishes and cleaned the room.

Here your subject can be left out because both clauses are main clauses and the both have the same subject.

In your case, one clause is a main clause while the other is a subclause. Furthermore, your clauses do not have the same subject. That is why you cannot omit the subject, so the first sentence is incorrect.

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  • Also, using 'how' would change the meaning here. The question with 'what' can have a broader answer, while 'how' can only have an answer about the way the person acts or about his/her personality. – Vlammuh Jun 1 '15 at 6:05

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