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

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mexican3051, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. mexican3051 Member

    I would like to jnow how to use aint and what does it replace in a sentece
  2. Eugin

    Eugin Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    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!!!!:)

  3. 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".
  4. jimreilly

    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.
  5. ElenaofTroy

    ElenaofTroy Senior Member

    State of Mexico, Mexico
    Neither do I!! ;)
  6. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English

    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"
  7. MrPedantic Senior Member

    UK, English
    "Ain't" for "am not"/"are not"/"is not" is also common in non-standard British English; especially in the London area.

  8. mamboney

    mamboney Senior Member

    Rocky Mountains
    English (USA)
    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.
  9. jdenson

    jdenson Senior Member

    Houston, Texas
    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.
  10. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    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!
  11. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    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.
  12. 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.

  13. MrPedantic Senior Member

    UK, English
    Yes, it's common in BrE too.

  14. HistofEng Senior Member

    New York
    USA Eng, Haitian-Creole
    "ain't" in some dialects (AAVE at least) can also mean "have not" and "has not"

    "I ain't been there yet"
  15. MrPedantic Senior Member

    UK, English
    Yes; in BrE too:

    1. "Where's Jim?" "Dunno. I ain't seen im all mornin."

  16. r_stich New Member

    Georgia, USA
    USA - English
    I've seen hain't before, too. Probably older, like Dickens or something. Obviously would mean have/has not.
  17. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    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).

Share This Page