When and how can I use "ain't" "either" "neither"

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  • Eugin

    Senior Member
    Argentina (Spanish)
    Remember the Bon Jovi´s song: "This aint a love song"? Well, here that would be "This IS NOT a love song". This is very informal language!! Mind you!!

    Simply as that!!!!:)

    Cheers!!
     

    nd23

    Member
    English - US
    Just a sidenote. Ain't doesn't just mean "is not". It can also replace "am not" or "are not" as in "I ain't gonna do that".
     

    jimreilly

    Senior Member
    American English
    I will go to either France or Spain:
    I will go to either one.

    I won't go to France or Spain:
    I won't go to either one (which can also be said:)
    I will go to neither one!


    I don't like apples or oranges=
    I like neither apples nor oranges. (I hope he likes bananas!)

    You will either eat or go to bed!
    Do either one!
    Don't do either one! or Do neither one.

    Notice: "either" can be used in a phrase with or without "not", (either way works), but you can't really use "neither" with "not",except to joke around. Some people would think it funny to answer a question (e.g. "Do you like Madonna or Jerry Folwell?) by saying "not neither". I just think it's silly, although I don't like either one of them either.
     

    ElenaofTroy

    Senior Member
    Mexico-Spanish
    jimreilly said:
    Notice: "either" can be used in a phrase with or without "not", (either way works), but you can't really use "neither" with "not",except to joke around. Some people would think it funny to answer a question (e.g. "Do you like Madonna or Jerry Folwell?) by saying "not neither". I just think it's silly, although I don't like either one of them either.
    Neither do I!! ;)
     

    *Cowgirl*

    Senior Member
    USA English
    nd23 said:
    Just a sidenote. Ain't doesn't just mean "is not". It can also replace "am not" or "are not" as in "I ain't gonna do that".
    True.

    Just a hint though:
    Don't use ain't very often (unless in the deep south US) if you don't want to be deemed a "redneck"
     

    MrPedantic

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    *Cowgirl* said:
    True.

    Just a hint though:
    Don't use ain't very often (unless in the deep south US) if you don't want to be deemed a "redneck"
    "Ain't" for "am not"/"are not"/"is not" is also common in non-standard British English; especially in the London area.

    MrP
     

    mamboney

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    *Cowgirl* said:
    True.

    Just a hint though:
    Don't use ain't very often (unless in the deep south US) if you don't want to be deemed a "redneck"
    Even in the deep south, you'll still be identified as a "redneck" if you use ain't. Although, I might prefer the term "educationally-challenged" ;) .

    I realize that "ain't" is colloquial speech in many parts of the US & is therefore acceptable to some. But as advice to anyone learning English, I would say DO NOT use "ain't" unless it is in a very informal situation. Some may consider the expression quaint, but most people recognize it as incorrect.

    The use of "ain't" in everyday speech is somewhat stigmatized here in the US. People who use the term are often considered to be lower class and/or ignorant--these ideas are perpetuated by the media.

    Please note that I am not saying that people who use ain't are stupid and poor! I am simply saying that the use of "ain't" is often equated with this image. This is a fairly widely held opinion, I think.

    It is not my intention to offend anyone with this post - if I did, I apologize.
     

    jdenson

    Senior Member
    USA / English
    I don't think that we should pull punches here. Forum readers learning English need to know that ain't is not standard English and that the person using it, except jokingly, will be labeled as uneducated. Those are the facts -- no apologies needed.
     

    *Cowgirl*

    Senior Member
    USA English
    mamboney said:
    Even in the deep south, you'll still be identified as a "redneck" if you use ain't. Although, I might prefer the term "educationally-challenged" ;) .

    I realize that "ain't" is colloquial speech in many parts of the US & is therefore acceptable to some. But as advice to anyone learning English, I would say DO NOT use "ain't" unless it is in a very informal situation. Some may consider the expression quaint, but most people recognize it as incorrect.

    The use of "ain't" in everyday speech is somewhat stigmatized here in the US. People who use the term are often considered to be lower class and/or ignorant--these ideas are perpetuated by the media.

    Please note that I am not saying that people who use ain't are stupid and poor! I am simply saying that the use of "ain't" is often equated with this image. This is a fairly widely held opinion, I think.

    It is not my intention to offend anyone with this post - if I did, I apologize.
    I should have been more specific.

    In small, rural, southern town, (like the one in which I live) ain't is perfectly acceptable. It is even said by Grammar teachers. It is recognized as incorrect, but it is still widely used.

    I agree, in most places, if you say ain't especially if you're non-native, you will be labeled as uneducated.

    No one has been offended, it's all good.:thumbsup:

    So, we have established that ain't just ain't a good word to use if at all possible. :)


    By the way welcome to the forums jdenson!
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Two other discussions specifying the use of ain't can be found HERE and HERE.

    An interesting note, at least in Southern AE, ain't is often used as part of a "double-negative" construction.

    For example:

    I ain't got nobody...
    He ain't got no sense.
    We ain't got nuthin' but holes in our socks.

    I'm not sure if this same construction holds true in the BE use of ain't or not.

    As others have said, as a non-native, I would not try to use it, unless just for fun.
     

    MrPedantic

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    If ordinary non-native speakers use non-standard words and phrases, the likelihood isn't that they'll be considered uneducated or illiterate; it's rather that the effect will be odd or comic. Native speakers can converse in fragments and half-words and strange mixtures of slang, and no one will think anything of it; but the slightest foreign accent immediately draws attention to the speaker's vocabulary.

    Hence the curious anomaly: if a non-native speaker wants native speakers to think he speaks "good" English, he has to speak "better" English than they do.

    MrP
     

    MrPedantic

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    GenJen54 said:
    An interesting note, at least in Southern AE, ain't is often used as part of a "double-negative" construction.

    For example:

    I ain't got nobody...
    He ain't got no sense.
    We ain't got nuthin' but holes in our socks.

    I'm not sure if this same construction holds true in the BE use of ain't or not.
    Yes, it's common in BrE too.

    MrP
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    r_stich said:
    I've seen hain't before, too. Probably older, like Dickens or something. Obviously would mean have/has not.
    The OED gently describes haint or hain't as a vulgar contraction of have not. This meaning should not be confused with the AE haint (noun), which is a horse of a different colour altogether (usually white or, if the horseman is headless, black).
     
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