Tag question - amn't I? - aren't I? - ain't I? - am I not?

  • Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    I was wondering if children who learn speaking make amn't on a basis of formulating a logical contraction. Did any of you notice something like that, please?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I can paint the walls tonight, I amn't going to English class.
    I amn't going to stay at Maisie's tonight.

    I amn't staying at my granny's tonight, I have to come back home.

    Did you spot such usage of amn't, please? This seems to be logical contraction of am + not but what seems logical and correct from a grammatical (and not only) point of view is not so in practice.
    Ah, I missed the point.
    I have never heard amn't used in this context, not ever.
    It only appears as amn't I - the tag question.

    In the examples you give, instead of I amn't I'd hear I'm not - presumably the same as most of the rest of you.
     

    Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    I was wondering if children who learn speaking make amn't on a basis of formulating a logical contraction. Did any of you notice something like that, please?

    That's an interesting thought. I've never noticed it, but I have never listened for it either. I suspect that by the time they start with the tag question, they are imitating their parents use without thinking of the component parts of the expression.
     

    Jim 89

    Member
    Sydney, Australia. English
    I'm certainly right when I use "aren't I", aren't I? Of course, I am. One might complain that "aren't I" makes no sense, but try saying "amn't" and you'll get an odd look unless you're in Ireland.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    That's an interesting thought. I've never noticed it, but I have never listened for it either. I suspect that by the time they start with the tag question, they are imitating their parents use without thinking of the component parts of the expression.
    Well, I was rather thinking that they could use it as a contraction of am + not in pure negatives.
     

    Blackleaf

    Banned
    English/Britain
    I don't say, "aren't I." That would be incorrect. I say, "am I not."

    Some people might say, "aren't I." Lot's of people make grammatical mistakes every day.



    Why did you get the idea that "aren't I?" is wrong? Saying "aren't I?" is perfectly good English.

    The reason we say "aren't I?" even though we also say "I am" rather than "I are" is probably because "Amn't I?" is difficult to say.
     

    Iona

    Senior Member
    English England
    I was extremely surprised to hear of the other variants (apart from the colloquial 'ain't I' )you live and learn ..BUT ... 'Aren't I' is perfectly correct in my part of the world (south of England) interesting point though .. like the myself / himself discussion.
     

    yodired

    Senior Member
    Venezuela Español
    Hey hispanos, why don't we simplify matters and adopt:

    I'm not late, no?
    I'm late, no?
    We aren't ...., no?

    Nice idea, no?

    Marcela

    Because we can't change english grammar to make it alike spanish's, can we?

    I supposed I wasn't late for this thread, was I?

    And, also, I only have 4 years speaking english but I have never seen or read "amn't". I suppose this is wrong.

    I am late, ain't I is the correct form, but I don't kknow if it is also the formal one...
     

    The Slippery Slide

    Senior Member
    British English
    My school teacher once told me that "am I not" used to be shortened to "a'nt I", but because it sounded identical to "aren't I" (which was a different thing), the spelling of the latter gradually came to be used for both.

    Mind you, he did also claim that his house was haunted by an eighteenth century dog.
     

    Raftery

    Member
    English - Ireland
    Speaking as a native English speaker from Ireland, the only construction I would ever use is 'amn't'. 'Ain't' to me sounds very Southern American, and 'aren't', in addition to sounding absolutely incorrect, smacks of English idiom.

    So 'I amn't' isn't just an archaism. Although I have heard it said that Irish English is more like Victorian English English than modern English English is.

    Lots of Englishes there...
     

    Raftery

    Member
    English - Ireland
    I have to object to panjandrum's comment above - I absolutely accept its usage in writing, and those who consider it illiterate are misguided. 'Amn't' was in fact archaic English English usage as well, much in the same way that the English, for a brief spell, used 'Aluminum' before changing to 'Aluminium'. The only situation I wouldn't use it in writing would be in a setting so formal that I would avoid any contractions, e.g. using 'would not' instead of 'wouldn't'.

    As far as its eccentricity goes, maybe among the English and Americans it's eccentric, but here in Ireland, it's perfectly normal - in fact, the only normal construction in the circumstances.

    Maybe the cause of panandrum's comments is an Irish inferiority complex, and a sycophantic attitude towards the grammatical whims of the English populace.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    Of course, if you are of a formal disposition, there's always 'Am I not?' I sometimes say it, in case anyone thinks it went out before the Dark Ages. Perhaps that's not conclusive evidence.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have to object to panjandrum's comment above - I absolutely accept its usage in writing, and those who consider it illiterate are misguided. 'Amn't' was in fact archaic English English usage as well, much in the same way that the English, for a brief spell, used 'Aluminum' before changing to 'Aluminium'. The only situation I wouldn't use it in writing would be in a setting so formal that I would avoid any contractions, e.g. using 'would not' instead of 'wouldn't'.

    As far as its eccentricity goes, maybe among the English and Americans it's eccentric, but here in Ireland, it's perfectly normal - in fact, the only normal construction in the circumstances.

    Maybe the cause of panandrum's comments is an Irish inferiority complex, and a sycophantic attitude towards the grammatical whims of the English populace.
    There's no need to be insulting.
    I simply pointed out that "... this usage is not accepted in writing and is considered eccentric or illiterate by many."
    I don't propose to mount a campaign for the acceptance of amn't ... outside of this forum :)

    For convenience, the forum threads on amn't, etc, have been glued together.
     
    Last edited:

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I can paint the walls tonight, I amn't going to English class.
    I amn't going to stay at Maisie's tonight.

    I amn't staying at my granny's tonight, I have to come back home.

    Did you spot such usage of amn't, please?
    I have never heard amn't used in this context, not ever.
    It only appears as amn't I - the tag question.

    In the examples you give, instead of I amn't I'd hear I'm not - presumably the same as most of the rest of you.

    I have to object to panjandrum's comment above - I absolutely accept its usage in writing, and those who consider it illiterate are misguided. 'Amn't' was in fact archaic English English usage as well, much in the same way that the English, for a brief spell, used 'Aluminum' before changing to 'Aluminium'. The only situation I wouldn't use it in writing would be in a setting so formal that I would avoid any contractions, e.g. using 'would not' instead of 'wouldn't'.

    As far as its eccentricity goes, maybe among the English and Americans it's eccentric, but here in Ireland, it's perfectly normal - in fact, the only normal construction in the circumstances.

    Maybe the cause of panandrum's comments is an Irish inferiority complex, and a sycophantic attitude towards the grammatical whims of the English populace.

    Maybe the off-topic, ungracious speculation, which has no basis in fact, reflects on some non-linguistic baggage brought to a discussion of the use of a term. The "amn't I" bit was introduced into this conversation in July of 2004 by a non-native English speaker. It was described as something like "no longer used in spoken English". That appears to be true for most varieties of spoken English.

    If it is still used in speech in a given place, there is no reason not to bring that to our attention. There is no reason to do so with insults towards those who have mentioned, in a non-polemical, non-prescriptivist, matter-of-fact manner that they do not use it or hear it spoken.
     

    Raftery

    Member
    English - Ireland
    Oh dear, I seem to have incurred a great deal of odium with what was only intended as a light-hearted jibe. Also, because all of the 'amn't' pages were merged, the comment that I was referring to is no longer adjacent to my comment - I was actually referring to panjandrum's suggestion that it was informal, rustic, incorrect and so on.

    I do apologise, though, my sense of humour seems to be grossly overdeveloped.

    <read the above as if it were spoken in a mock-apologetic, good-humoured tone>

    Cuchuflete, you seem to be a seasoned traveller in these fora - even moreso than panjandrum, whose post-count is indeed venerable - I'm sure he can defend himself.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Aside from the above disagreement, it is true to say that amn't is widely used in Hiberno-English and conveys no associations other than what it is, a contraction of am not.
    I regard it as perfectly acceptable to be used in both formal and informal writings and do so myself.

    Other varieties of English (indeed other varieties of people) may, and do, differ.

    Edit: Both forms - I amn't and amn't I? - are used in Hiberno-English.
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    My response to being diagnosed with an inferiority complex and labelled sycophantic on grounds of a selective quotation from what I said about amn't was mostly due to the unfairness of the comments.

    The use of amn't varies by geography, and there is a fair amount of geography within Ireland that we need to take account of. My observations reflect the prevailing usage in my bit of geography, but a careful reader would notice a distinct lack of knuckling under. In addition to the quote that Raftery took exception to:
    Amn't I is a perfectly logical and useful addition for those who feel the need to add tag questions to their sentences.​
    Are I not, shortened to aren't I, although clearly grammatically incorrect, is now so much used in some parts of the world that opposing it is a lost cause. For a discussion of the correct short form, amn't I, please see the threads above.​
    Amn't I? is regularly heard here.
    Surely aren't I can't be correct?
    I are right, aren't I?:eek:
    I am right, amn't I?:)
    Take your pick, and explain :D
    On behalf of my compatriots, let me say again, as I have said many times before.
    There is nothing wrong with, or unusual about, or difficulty in pronouncing
    ... amn't I ...
    ... but it is not often written down and would not be accepted in formal contexts.
    No doubt amn't I sounds bizarre to anyone who has been raised entirely on aren't I.
    For those of us who live in an amn't I zone, it sounds entirely normal and is of course entirely logical. Like aren't I, it would not be accepted in formal contexts.​
    Pedro's and Raftery's experience of the acceptability of the form varies from mine, but then everyone else's experience of the acceptability of aren't I also varies from mine.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Well, I was rather thinking that they could use [amn't] as a contraction of am + not in pure negatives.

    I found in Google Books the following, from page 226 of Human Development: A Life-span Approach‎ (1988) by Karen L. Freiberg (I couldn't see the actual book page, the following appeared in the search results page):

    "sheeps seed or sawed amn't foots goed"

    So your speculation that children might use amn't appears to be correct. Note that in this sort of error, children learn the (normal) irregular forms first, due to simple imitation, and convert some of them to regular forms at a later stage of their learning.
     

    Jocaste

    Senior Member
    Français
    It's interesting to note that people in Ireland do, on the whole, seem to prefer amn't I to aren't I, and certainly in informal contexts.
    I don't understand how some people could say that there's a difficulty in pronouncing it - it's very easy: am-ent I.

    Aside from the fact that it's indisputably correct, unlike the bizarre aren't I, amn't also aids in making sentences shorter.

    I'm not going out tonight.
    I amn't going out tonight.

    :D
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't understand how some people could say that there's a difficulty in pronouncing it - it's very easy: am-ent I.

    Can you list another word in English that has an "mn" combination pronounced "men"? I can't. I think most people see "amn't" and think that somehow you must pronounce the "m" and "n" with no intervening vowel, which would indeed be difficult.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    One manages to pronounce 'damned' as a single syllable easily enough. I would think that "amn't" would sound rather like 'amped,' only with an 'n' in lieu of the 'p.'

    (Here of course we see a vowel but we don't pronounce one.)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    One manages to pronounce 'damned' as a single syllable easily enough.

    I don't know about others, but I manage it by dropping the "n" entirely. "Dammed" and "damned" sound identical when I pronounce them. :)

    I was just responding to a native speaker who actually uses "amn't" and says that it is pronounced "am-ent" (see above) and couldn't understand how the pronunciation of "amn't" could cause anyone a problem. I certainly wouldn't pronounce "damned" as "dam-end" so I wouldn't assume "amn't" was "ament". I can see how "amp'd" would work but that's what an actual user reports as the pronunciation.

    Jocaste said:
    ...amn't also aids in making sentences shorter.

    I'm not going out tonight.
    I amn't going out tonight.

    I don't see how this makes it shorter. It's the same number of syllables and the same number of letters.
     
    Last edited:

    Jocaste

    Senior Member
    Français
    I was just responding to a native speaker who actually uses "amn't" and says that it is pronounced "am-ent" (see above) and couldn't understand how the pronunciation of "amn't" could cause anyone a problem. I certainly wouldn't pronounce "damned" as "dam-end" so I wouldn't assume "amn't" was "ament". I can see how "amp'd" would work but that's what an actual user reports as the pronunciation.

    I'm not a native speaker but rest assured, that is how the Irish pronounce it.

    I don't see how this makes it shorter. It's the same number of syllables and the same number of letters.

    The comment was made in jest, which the graphic below was supposed, but obviously failed, to indicate.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    It's interesting to note that people in Ireland do, on the whole, seem to prefer amn't I to aren't I, and certainly in informal contexts.
    I don't understand how some people could say that there's a difficulty in pronouncing it - it's very easy: am-ent I.

    Aside from the fact that it's indisputably correct, unlike the bizarre aren't I, amn't also aids in making sentences shorter.

    I'm not going out tonight.
    I amn't going out tonight.

    :D

    I certainly dispute that amn't is "indisputably correct." In some dialects it is correct, but in most dialects, including most standard dialects, it cannot be considered acceptable. Just because an abbreviation is possible does not make it standard: Consider 'tis, which was once part of standard speech, but no longer is.

    Amn't I? just sounds goofy to speakers of standard American English--and likely to speakers of most nonstandard American dialects. There is, of course, nothing that makes it inherently goofy, as can clearly be seen by the fact that it is used in some dialects of English. It's merely a question of usage, which also explains why aren't I? is standard--even if some standard speakers don't care for it.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I certainly dispute that amn't is "indisputably correct." In some dialects it is correct, but in most dialects, including most standard dialects, it cannot be considered acceptable.

    And just what makes it ''unacceptable''? It might not be used in AE, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a perfectly logical, and correct, alternative to aren't I.
    Indeed, how could one consider aren't I - are I not - ''correct'' but not amn't I?!

    Amn't I? just sounds goofy to speakers of standard American English--and likely to speakers of most nonstandard American dialects.

    Strange how something could sound ''goofy'' to American speakers if it's never used.
    But I digress, I'll take your word, as representative of some 300 million AE speakers, that amn't does indeed sound ''goofy''.

    As for people here, we'll continue to use the quite logical, correct, and perfectly normal sounding amn't.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    And just what makes it ''unacceptable''? It might not be used in AE, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a perfectly logical, and correct, alternative to aren't I.
    Indeed, how could one consider aren't I - are I not - ''correct'' but not amn't I?!

    Because usage determines correctness in language.

    Whether something sounds goofy is a side-effect of usage--what sorts of forms and phonetics are used in a given dialect--and whether the item in question is actually used in any dialect or not is a separate matter. Even though they may not think of it in quite those terms, some comedians who invent words for comic effect are masters of inventing "English" (and other) words that sound goofy.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Because usage determines correctness in language.

    Hence, that which is established in AE but not in other dialects can now confidently be termed ''incorrect'' instead of just regional usage?

    Good luck to sidewalk, aluminum, acclimate, and baby carriage then. Being that they're not used here, I can happily inform those Americans I know that the terms they use are, in fact, wrong.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    If you wrote "amn't I" in an Irish school would a teacher mark it as wrong? I think that's what mplsray's getting at - there is nothing inherent in any usage that makes it right or wrong, just what your contemporaries - and in particular your pedagogues - consider right or wrong. I'm sure that there are (in fact I know there are) lots of standard AE expressions that would get you laughed at in a BE context (and vice versa I'm sure).
     
    Last edited:

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    If you wrote amn't I in any given context in Ireland then it would be accepted. Of course there are probably people who would mark it as wrong or substandard, just like there are people who would mark aren't I as wrong or substandard.

    I refer back to an earlier post for the general Irish position:

    'Amn't' was in fact archaic English English usage as well, much in the same way that the English, for a brief spell, used 'Aluminum' before changing to 'Aluminium'. The only situation I wouldn't use it in writing would be in a setting so formal that I would avoid any contractions, e.g. using 'would not' instead of 'wouldn't'.

    As far as its eccentricity goes, maybe among the English and Americans it's eccentric, but here in Ireland, it's perfectly normal - in fact, the only normal construction in the circumstances.
     

    mnolan90

    Member
    English - Ireland
    I certainly dispute that amn't is "indisputably correct." In some dialects it is correct, but in most dialects, including most standard dialects, it cannot be considered acceptable. Just because an abbreviation is possible does not make it standard: Consider 'tis, which was once part of standard speech, but no longer is.

    Amn't I? just sounds goofy to speakers of standard American English--and likely to speakers of most nonstandard American dialects. There is, of course, nothing that makes it inherently goofy, as can clearly be seen by the fact that it is used in some dialects of English. It's merely a question of usage, which also explains why aren't I? is standard--even if some standard speakers don't care for it.

    "not acceptable" - incidentally, in Ireland I would very rarely hear anyone using "aren´t I" at the end of a sentence - in fact, to me it sounds quite pompous! similarly, "ain´t I" (rightly or wrongly) to me sounds a bit uneducated. In any case, it´s just a case of differing dialects.

    Regarding pronunciation, if I was to write "amn´t I" before reading this thread I would have written it as "amen´t I"!
    Trust me, it doesn´t sound half as strange to me as "aren´t I" or "ain´t I"....
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    "amn't I"sounds archaic or dialectal to me. I imagine a country bumpkin with a strong Devon? accent saying something like this.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    I don't know about others, but I manage it by dropping the "n" entirely. "Dammed" and "damned" sound identical when I pronounce them. :)

    I was just responding to a native speaker who actually uses "amn't" and says that it is pronounced "am-ent" (see above) and couldn't understand how the pronunciation of "amn't" could cause anyone a problem. I certainly wouldn't pronounce "damned" as "dam-end" so I wouldn't assume "amn't" was "ament". I can see how "amp'd" would work but that's what an actual user reports as the pronunciation.

    Sorry, a thread so long gets tangled.

    Compare it then to didn't. I suspect most people pronounce that 'dident,' making use of a vowel that isn't there. Whereby 'ament' seems entirely reasonable.

    Some of course collapse didn't into a single syllable, as in 'dintcha?' for "didn't you?' That same process would leave us with ... whaddaya know? ... a'nt. A sound which could easily move either toward ain't or ar(e)n't, depending on how a's are handled in one's dialect.

    Interesting. Perhaps ain't isn't a contracted 'am I not' but rather a dialectic pronunciation of a'nt. And maybe "aren't I' has nothing to do with "aren't you" or aren't we" and is just another dialectic pronunciation--- arnt--- fixed up erroneously to look like a word. (On the other hand, maybe all the "aren'ts" moved people to insert the 'r' sound into a'nt, the way the 'n' sound in "mine" finds its way dialectically into "yourn, hisn, hern, ourn, theirn.")

    OK, a flight of imagination I know. But a viable one, seems to me.
     
    Last edited:

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    If you wrote amn't I in any given context in Ireland then it would be accepted. Of course there are probably people who would mark it as wrong or substandard
    I don't see how this answers my question. Would "amn't I" be marked as incorrect by the average teacher in Ireland? ,
    just like there are people who would mark aren't I as wrong or substandard.
    Not in England (which is the variety I can speak for). No one here would think twice about "aren't I" as being substandard - I don't think it would cross the vast majority of people's minds that it was even irregular (it hadn't mine before this thread).

    The point I'm trying to make - no one is saying that one form is in any way "better", just that one (aren't I) is accepted as standard in many varieties of English, and asking if "amn't I" enjoys the same acceptance in some dialects. From the fact that people from Ireland commenting in this thread haven't been sure how it should standardly be written I can only presume not.
     
    Last edited:

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I don't see how this answers my question.

    I believe any given context speaks for itself, but my apologies, let me be clear:

    Would "amn't I" be marked as incorrect by the average teacher in Ireland?

    No.
    And if it was, then the teacher needs to find a new job.

    Not in England (which is the variety I can speak for). No one here would think twice about "aren't I" as being substandard here - I don't think it would cross the vast majority of people's minds that it was even irregular (it hadn't mine before this thread).

    I don't believe I ever made reference to England. I was speaking from my own personal experience, and in my own personal experience there are people who regard aren't I as substandard (see panjandrum's posts), and those who feel the same way about amn't.

    The vast majority of people don't care one way or the other. Most people in Ireland, as previous posts have demonstrated, use amn't.

    From the fact that people from Ireland commenting in this thread haven't been sure how it should standardly be written I can only presume not.

    One person wrote that.
    Other Irish foreros have clearly stated that amn't is the norm here. Let me again repeat what another Irish poster said: ''As far as its eccentricity goes, maybe among the English and Americans it's eccentric, but here in Ireland, it's perfectly normal - in fact, the only normal construction in the circumstances.''
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    No.
    And if it was, then the teacher needs to find a new job.
    Thanks - that then answers my question. I do nonetheless find the uncertainty of spelling perplexing in that case - it doesn't seem to mirror in its Irish context the acceptance of "aren't I" in English English (and apparently from this thread American English) which is uncriticised, even by the worst pedant.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Thanks - that then answers my question. I do nonetheless find the uncertainty of spelling perplexing in that case - it doesn't seem to mirror in its Irish context the acceptance of "aren't I" in English English (and apparently from this thread American English) which is uncriticised, even by the worst pedant.

    I'm not sure I understand. There is no "uncertainty" of spelling.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I was referring to post 135.

    I would repeat, that is one person. Perhaps that person would not find themselves often in the situation of writing amn't/aren't I or perhaps that person has trouble spelling. I have no idea.

    However the way to spell amn't is very clear. There is no more or less uncertainty over it than there is over aren't.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hence, that which is established in AE but not in other dialects can now confidently be termed ''incorrect'' instead of just regional usage?

    Good luck to sidewalk, aluminum, acclimate, and baby carriage then. Being that they're not used here, I can happily inform those Americans I know that the terms they use are, in fact, wrong.

    I made a point about American usage because I am quite aware of what is and is not acceptable in that branch of the language. On a question such as "Does 'Amn't I?' sound idiomatic, or even so strange as to be amusing?" I can answer confidently from my American perspective, while what British or Australian or even Canadian speakers might think I could not say.

    On the question of the correctness of the contraction amn't, I would further point out that -n't is used to negate only a limited number of verbs in every dialect of English. In American English, am is not one of those verbs.

    Again, this is a question of usage. I would point out, furthermore, that this applies to nonstandard dialects of English as well. Ain't I? is grammatically correct in some nonstandard American dialects--perhaps all of them, although in some of them it would be pronounced without the /t/--while Amn't I? is, to the best of my knowledge, grammatically incorrect in all American nonstandard dialects.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    On the question of the correctness of the contraction amn't, I would further point out that -n't is used to negate only a limited number of verbs in every dialect of English. In American English, am is not one of those verbs.

    In Irish, and formerly British (though it remains in use in Scotland), English it is.

    Terming it ''incorrect'' rather than just regional usage leads to all kinds of confusion, for it seems to presuppose that Irish usage is somehow ''substandard'' - it isn't.

    An analogous situation can be found in relation to gotten, formerly used in England but now fallen out of favour. I don't think even the most fervent BE speaker would term it as ''wrong'', simply as archaic, I hold that the same is true for amn't.

    It is not incorrect. And even if it were, what of aren't I?
     
    Last edited:

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    In Irish, and formerly British (though it remains in use in Scotland), English it is.

    Terming it ''incorrect'' rather than just regional usage leads to all kinds of confusion, for it seems to presuppose that Irish usage is somehow ''substandard'' - it isn't.

    An analogous situation can be found in relation to gotten, formerly used in England but now fallen out of favour. I don't think even the most fervent BE speaker would term it as ''wrong'', simply as archaic, I hold that the same is true for amn't.

    It is not incorrect. And even if it were, what of aren't I?

    I myself have quite often objected to terms such as "correct" and "proper" in regard to language, which are too often used instead of "standard" to imply that there is something intrinsically wrong with a nonstandard usage. Note, however, that I was responding to a claim that amn't was "indisputably correct." The term "grammatically incorrect"--which "correct" seems to have meant in that assessment--is really a neutral term. A usage either conforms to the grammar of a given dialect--whether a standard or a nonstandard one--or it does not, and amn't, to the best of my knowledge, does not conform to the grammar of any American dialect, which proves the claim false.

    "Aren't I?" is grammatically incorrect, but that is irrelevant to the argument of whether it is acceptable--in either standard or nonstandard dialects--because it is an idiom.
     

    Raftery

    Member
    English - Ireland
    So, to bring an end to this discussion, after 146 posts:

    "Amn't" is non-standard usage in most varieties of English, but in Scottish English and Irish English it is standard, in both formal and informal circumstances, except in circumstances so formal that all contractions are unacceptable.

    "Aren't I", despite seeming to be grammatically incorrect, is in fact standard in many parts of the world, and is therefore definitely acceptable, except in Scottish and Irish English.

    Nothing in English should be described as "unacceptable" or "improper", since every established dialect of English is equally valid, and to insinuate otherwise will cause cultural friction. Until we have an Academie Anglaise, there is no such thing as "correct" English.

    Agreed?
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    [...]

    Nothing in English should be described as "unacceptable" or "improper", since every form of English is equally valid, and to insinuate otherwise will cause cultural friction. Until we have an Academie Anglaise, there is no such thing as "correct" English.

    Agreed?
    Of course not. If what you say were true, there would be no point in this forum.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Nothing in English should be described as "unacceptable" or "improper", since every form of English is equally valid, and to insinuate otherwise will cause cultural friction. Until we have an Academie Anglaise, there is no such thing as "correct" English.

    Agreed?

    Not in the slightest! This means that anyone can say anything in any kind of grammar and we have to accept it so as not to cause cultural friction. Granted, different English-speaking nations have different forms of grammar and even different areas within those nations have some, however this doesn't make all forms of English valid and plenty in English should be described as unacceptable and improper.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Hello, panjandrum. Namaskar.:)
    Sorry to revive this pretty old thread but after a decade of your last post in this thread, are you still for amn't I, or have you started using/accepting aren't I? Which of the two given options (amn't/aren't) would you choose to complete the following sentence on an English exam? I am a native English speaker, --------I?

    Which of the two contractions would you use while writing a dialogue to be included in a schoolbook?

    Many thanks.
     
    Top