Aren't (is it too informal for a formal meeting?)

Hello everyone,

This sounds crazy and odd to me, but a Brazilian woman told me today that she was in a formal business meeting, speaking English, when she used "aren't" in (we aren't doing the right thing), and her boss (he is probably Brazilian) told her that it was wrong (too informal) to say "aren't" in a formal meeting. According to him, she should use only "we're not.'' My question: Is her boss right? I think he was too nitpicking.

Thank you in advance!
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    His advice is zilch, Xavier. I don't know what sort of fantasies that man might have cooked up in his mind about how people talk over here, but I know damn well that people don't avoid "aren't" for any reason at all. It's too useful and natural to kick it out of a place in your speech.

    Aren't ---- I think I just might ... not need to swoon* or do anything dramatic. There isn't any need to. Everything sounds perfectly normal. I don't plan to raise a stink at a meeting anytime soon just because some speaker used an everyday word to express her thoughts.:rolleyes:

    *Does anybody actually know how to do this?
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The only difference between 'we aren't' and 'we're not' is in the choice of contractions. 'We're' is no better or worse than 'aren't'.

    Tell that boss he's wrong.

    No, you'd better tell him he is wrong.

    No, you had better tell him he is wrong. :D


    Senior Member
    English English
    I completely agree with Mr O, Xavier, as regards British English. Quite apart from anything, why does he think aren't is informal and we're isn't?o_Oo_O

    I do a pretty mean swoon, Mr O:)



    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The boss's comment doesn't make sense to me. Only the uncontracted form, "we are not doing", sounds more stiff or formal.

    Sometimes the contracted "we're not doing" might be preferred over the other contracted form "we aren't doing", simply becasue it retains the full emphasis of the negative "not" .


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi, X
    We have nad a number of threads here started by native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese seeking "formal" use of the English language, which seems to us that they are enamored with the convoluted, mindless use of the English language favored by some who are more interested in bewildering the listener in a feckless attempt to impress, than they are in effective communication.
    Feel free to share this with "the boss"