I am without an article? (with regard to a job title)


Is it grammatically okay to say

I am [..]

instead of

I am [article] [...]


I am software developer

Programming tag since my question actually is can I say 'I am developer'?

I would love to upvote all your answers and comments since you are very helpful + polite¹. Unfortunately I can't since I dont have enough rep.
¹ very uncommon for the bigger stackenchinge networks - IMHO


Posted 2014-04-29T16:33:21.153

Reputation: 141


With reference to a job title, which seems to be the OP's concern, based on their comments, see ELL's Do we have to use any article before job title?. The rule is use a before a job title unless it is a unique role (you are the only one performing that role, as in the president).

– GoDucks – 2016-01-11T17:26:16.787

I should have typed ELU rather than ELL in my comment above. Too late to edit, and not worthy of deletion, since both links are still germane. – GoDucks – 2016-01-11T17:55:34.520

No, you must use an article. – None – 2014-04-29T16:37:08.147

1No, your example is incorrect. You would only use 'I am' without an article with adjectives, 'I am tall', 'I am fat' etc. – mjsqu – 2014-04-29T16:38:19.193



You can say "I am (adjective)" with no article:

I am hungry.
I am late.
I am tired.

But if you are using a noun, then an article is required:

I am a software developer.
I am the boss.

And the article is still required if you are using a noun phrase that includes adjectives modifying the noun:

I am a hungry, tired boy.


Posted 2014-04-29T16:33:21.153

Reputation: 18 009

I think it would be grammatically wrong to say "Ich bin Entwickler" (german version of 'I am developer') but it wouldn't be.. hmm.. weird. Hope you get that.. Would it be weird to say "I am developer" to an american / britain? – None – 2014-04-29T16:41:19.237

I would probably know what you meant if you said it, but it would mark you as a non-native speaker who doesn't know when an article is required. :-) – Hellion – 2014-04-29T16:42:50.903

3@Brettetete I am developer would only be accepted in very narrow literary usages, to say you are the embodiment of some idea or archetype: I am woman, I am legend, I am Borg. – choster – 2014-04-29T16:45:23.833

@choster THIS IS NO ADVERTISEMENT AND REFERS TO MY QUESTION www.iamX.com where x is for example developer - would this be okay? Sorry for this long discussion, it's kind of hard for me to explain my question in english :( – None – 2014-04-29T16:49:21.127

1@Brettetete Certainly, if you want to express that you are the incarnation of the Platonic ideal of a developer… I am developer. I assemble. I construct. I build from memory. I write scripts and produce the SQL. I navigate the waterfall; I pass the stress test. I ANSI the questions you ASCII. I am developer. – choster – 2014-04-29T17:16:33.410

@Brettetete The german validity of "Ich bin Entwickler" might be due to an implied "von beruf" (to which there is no directly-corresponding English phrase) but you'd have to ask someone better-versed in German for that. – msam – 2014-04-30T07:46:33.420


My old school grammar, written for Germans, says about the use of the indefinite article:

The indefinite article is used (contrary to German) when indicating 1 profession or membership 2 nationality 3 religion especially after "to be" and "to become"

1a He is a teacher/a member of the PEN Club. 2a She is an American. 3a He is a Catholic.

Longman English Grammar has the same in paragraph 3.9.3


Posted 2014-04-29T16:33:21.153

Reputation: 8 304

note, however, that both "She is American" and "He is catholic" are valid since both American and catholic can be adjectives (i'd actually find "he is a catholic" strange but maybe that's just me) – msam – 2014-04-30T07:38:28.210

You are right. I wanted to add this alternative, then I forgot it. Longman formulates it this way: Adjectival equivalents can be used in place of nouns for all examples except occupation). He is European/French/Catholic/Socialist. But: He's a taxi driver. – rogermue – 2014-04-30T07:43:59.897


Nope. This is how it would be said in French and Spanish i.e. Mi padre es médico. Mon père est médecin.

However, the article is required in English.


Posted 2014-04-29T16:33:21.153


1Would it be kind of uncommon - or rather kind of slang? – None – 2014-04-29T16:38:28.867

No, if you were to use "eye-dialect" for slang, it would still include an abbreviated indefinite article. You would say "I'mma" not "I'm." – None – 2014-04-29T16:41:12.597

@Zebra, I’d interpret I’mma (or just Imma) as eye-dialect for “I am going to”. “I am a” I would just write as I’m a. – Janus Bahs Jacquet – 2014-04-29T16:50:12.020