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Hello,

I had an EFL student ask me what is the different between the following sentences:

"I was wondering, where am I?" and "I was wondering where I am."

My thought is that the first sentence is clearly requesting information from the listener regarding the speaker's physical location. The second sentence is a statement that expresses an internal conversation re: location. In general, the first sentence seems more grammatically correct than the second sentence, although I don't know the exact explanation.

Many kind thanks in advance to anyone who can illuminate the answers to my aforementioned questions.
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Hi Postmodernbliss

"I was wondering where I am?" is correct.
postmodernbliss"I was wondering, where am I?" and "I was wondering where I am."
Please ignore my earlier post.

I was wondering, "Where am I?"
BUT "I was wondering where I was."
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This is always fun. If you were writing a narative, and wrote, "I was wondering where I was," it wouldn't raise an eyebrow.

But when you put the "am" in the present tense, it technically makes no sense. Are you still wondering?

You'd have to say, "I'm wondering where I am."

So the long and the short of it is that "I was wondering" is taken as a sort of fixed expression meaning "could you help me?"

It's like "I was wondering, do you have any spare change?

Putting the "was" in the past somehow makes it seem more polite.

"I'm wondering, do you have any spare change" somehow seems too direct.

"I'm wondering, where am I?" This is no less correct, but it's much less common.

I usually think of it as two sentences: a statement and a question: "I was wondering. Where am I?"

Sure, it means "I was wondering." But it also means, "Could you please help me?"
Edit.

I'd have to say that "I was wondering where I am" is idiomatic in the sense that people often say it and are easily understood. It's part of the common casual speech. It just doesn't compute.

But "I'm wondering where I was" is perfectly logical.
postmodernblissI had an EFL student ask me what is the different difference between the following sentences:

"I was wondering, where am I?" and "I was wondering where I am."
The first is more correctly punctuated

I was wondering, "Where am I?"

The second is better with a backshift:

I was wondering where I was.

The first is a quoted thought (direct). The second is a reported thought (indirect).
The intermediate form

I was wondering, where am I?

is called "semi-indirect".

All three have the same meaning. They differ only slightly in style, semi-indirect being more casual (least formal).

CJ
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If I wish to write, A man approached me and said, "I was wondering, where am I?", is it still semi-direct, or semi-indirect?
"I was wondering, where am I?" I believe this is correct because of the "comma" which makes "where am I"? a question to himself. "

"I was wondering where I am." . This is a correct statement .
So I guess I need to write:

A man approached, and said to me, "I was wondering, where am I?"

Is this guy idiomatic, or not? I've heard it often.
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