Can't escape it, ain't no use in trying

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K'9999

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Hello everyone!

I've got a question about "ain't".
I know there are lots of threads about it but couldn't find anyone that answered my question.
As far as I know, "ain't" = every present statment (verb "to be") in the negative form, e.g.: am not, are not, is not, etc.
But I've heard a song in which "ain't" is used differently:

"Get ready, love will leave you crying
It's gonna hurt you till your heart is dying
Can't escape it, ain't no use in trying
No exception, love will leave you crying too
Till you're a broken man, poor you."


I think that here "ain't" = "There's"
But could it be "hasn't"?

Thank you very much!!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Think of ain't = it isn't here. In Standard English we say it isn't any use. We use any after a negative verb. Two common dialects that use ain't (Black American and London Cockney) also have a grammatical rule of negative agreement. These dialects use no rather than any if the verb is negative.

    I ain't going nowhere. = I'm not going anywhere.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Logically, it seems that a double negative might make a positive, but in (very) casual speech it is meant to be emphatically negative : There isn't any paper. There is no paper. There ain't no paper!
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Aint can sometimes mean haven't or hasn't , or even I haven't, as in
    Ain't got no home, ain't got no shoes
    Ain't got no money, ain't got no class

    (Nina Simone - Aint got no/I got life

    Here, as has been said before and as you rightly suspected, it means there's isn't

    as illustrated in this song title
    Aint no more cane on the brazos (traditional prison work song).

    In all of those cases, the subject (I - there) has been omitted and you've got a double negative -- that "functions" as a single one.
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My 7th grade English teacher in junior high school, when he got very frustrated he would blurt out:

    I ain't got none time to quibble now.

    And that "ain't" means "don't".

    And "double negatives" applies to math only; it is not a valid rule for language.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The use of two negatives is still called a "double negative" regardless of the existance of any rule for or against.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    And "double negatives" applies to math only; it is not a valid rule for language.
    Just to clarify, that it's only in some dialects/situations as mentioned above that two negatives don't make some sort of positive.

    When you want to contradict a negative statement, you can use two negatives to make an assertion. He has some money and he has some friends :
    He doesn't have no money - he just doesn't have much.
    He doesn't have no friends left - only the ones from high-school.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    The use of two negatives is still called a "double negative" regardless of the existance of any rule for or against.
    "Double negative" is a problematical term. Linguist Geoffrey Pullum found that the term was used for at least ten grammatical phenomena, and so he has quit using the term.

    For the type of negation represented by "ain't no" the term linguists prefer to use is "negative concord."
     
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