The Word Ain’t


CLICK TO LISTEN:  The Word “Ain’t”

The dictionary says that “ain’t” is an example of nonstandard English. 
 
Standard English follows rules of grammar and usage that people  learn in school.
 
Nonstandard English includes words or expressions that violate these rules.
 

“Ain’t” is an attempt to combine the words “am” and “not” in a way similar to the way that “don’t” combines the words “do” and “not.”

 
Experts say it first appeared in English in 1778.
 
They say people in that time period also developed the use of “don’t” and “won’t.”
 
Later, grammar experts criticized the use of “ain’t” because it was used by uneducated people. 
 
In the nineteenth century, it was criticized because it was not a combination of two words.
 
The meaning of “ain’t” also expanded to include “is not,” “has not” and “have not,” as in the expression “I ain’t got any.”
 
Grammar experts and teachers continue to criticize the use of “ain’t.”
 
They say it is slang and should not be used in conversation.
 
Yet sometimes it seems to be the right word to use for informal speech.
 
It has been used in many expressions such as “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” “Say it ain’t so” and “Ain’t that the truth!”
 
People also use it in a joking way.
 
However, it is not used in writing unless the writer is trying to express a kind of informal relation among a group of people.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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