What is the difference between "What a good boy I am!" and "What a good boy am I!"?

These two exclamative sentences are different in the matter of Subject-auxiliary inversion.

What I want to know is the subtle meaning or pragmatic difference the two sentences bring to native speakers.

  • It's a sentence and not a question. And thus, "....I am." – Maulik V Jun 15 '15 at 12:35
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    @MaulikV - What a good boy am I is a line from a famous nursery rhyme. (Of course, if Line 3 read "Eating his Christmas jam," this wouldn't be an issue.) – J.R. Jun 15 '15 at 13:27
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    Rhyme and meter. Such a funny thing. From whence cometh words such as completer, in order a pretty song to... giraffe. – Michael Dorgan Jun 15 '15 at 22:31

When you're exclaiming a fact (in surprise), you are not asking a question. As such, we always use "sentence order"; that is: subject > verb.

What a good boy I am!

What a wonderful day it is!

How nice you are!

I have not been able to think of a single situation where we could ask a question using this "What a/an + noun phrase" or "How + adjective" style (though if someone were to come up with such an example, then I suppose question order (verb > subject) would be applied).

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