Sure, “ain’t” gets the attention, but what do “am’nt,” “h’aint” and “b’aint” mean?

What’s all the fuss over ain’t about? Is there really anything wrong with the word? Or is it even a word? The colloquialism ain’t is a nonstandard contraction of the following: “am not,” “are not,” “is not,” “have not,” and “has not.” It is also used in some dialects as a contraction for “do not,” “does not,” and “did not.” For example, “We ain’t got any milk left.”

It derives from the late 18th century word amn’t, which is a contraction of “am not.” Amn’t and the related word an’t are rarely used anymore. There are several antiquated non-standard contractions. Hain’t means “has not” or “have not.” And baint and bain’t mean “be not.”

The validity of ain’t has been widely debated. On one hand, many people consider it to be an acceptable contraction in everyday speech. But on the other hand, it seems that just as many people consider its usage improper and simply “bad English.” There is no use denying how commonly ain’t appears in some of the most beloved expressions, such as:

• If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

• He ain’t what he used to be.

• You ain’t heard (or seen) nothing yet.

• Say it ain’t so, Joe!

• Ain’t it the truth!

Do you think ain’t is a real word, worthy of acceptance in common speech? Let us know, below.

Wall Street Brokers Rejected in Ads

AP Online September 8, 2002 | BRIAN STEINBERG 00-00-0000 NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street and Madison Avenue never cross _ in New York City, it’s geographically impossible. On television, however, the two boulevards intersect constantly, and the result can sometimes be a rubberneck’s delight. see here chinese food menu

In this case, the victim at the scene of any resulting accident would seem to be the venerable Wall Street broker.

Years ago, financial workers were venerated in ads. Well-to-do people in restaurants and town squares would shush themselves in a flash to glean any bit of advice from someone whose broker worked at E.F. Hutton. When celebrated actor John Houseman told consumers how Smith Barney made money “the old-fashioned way,” well, it almost made one proud to be a banker.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

“The public’s skepticism with the whole financial services industry is at an all-time high,” said Ken Bernhardt, a marketing professor at Georgia State University. How long financial marketers capitalize on such feelings “will depend upon what kind of response they get in the marketplace,” he added.

The latest assault on Wall Street’s integrity comes from a series of ads promoting Charles Schwab Corp. The commercials, which have run since May, poke brokerage-house workers in the ribs so many times that its a wonder any of them can still breathe.

“I’m looking at your portfolio,” says one broker on the phone in one of the ads as he scans a Chinese-food menu. “You’ve got to buy.” Another broker echoes the sentiment, telling a prospective stock investor that “I’m for picking. I’m for buying.” When one member of the crew mistakenly utters the word “sell,” the floor grows as quiet as the crowd in one of those old E.F. Hutton spots.

In a separate commercial, a bus filled with commuters mulls over the fact that all of them got the same so-called “hot tip” from their individual brokers.

The most damning example comes from a third ad, in which a senior manager commands his staff to “tell your clients this one is red hot. This one is ‘en fuego.’ Just don’t mention the fundamentals. They stink.” In recent years, brokers have been cast as everything from useless to hopelessly old-fashioned. Dot-com era ads from Ameritrade Holding Corp., in which redheaded office boy Stuart cajoled fuddy-duddies to buy stocks online, seemed to say that Wall Street could only get in your way.

As the economy became more fragile and the markets more volatile, however, financial services firms took on a hand-holding tone, urging investors to allow the firms to guide them through stormy weather to sunshine.

Finance mavens like TD Waterhouse Group Inc., MassMutual’s Oppenheimer Funds and Stillwell Financial Inc.’s Janus Capital mutual funds portrayed themselves as rock-solid entities that could help investors make it through the rain.

A heartwarming ad series from Morgan Stanley has financial professionals talk about their emotional interaction with customers, even going so far as to put up a business card on screen as the commercial concludes. The tagline? “One client at a time.” Of course, some caution against reading too much into the Schwab ads _ including the folks at Schwab.

The San Francisco broker has always portrayed itself as “a different kind of company,” says Peter DeLuca, the company’s senior vice president of brand advertising. in our site chinese food menu

Yet, Schwab may once have found itself in the very same place as those entities it now lampoons. The company made its name as a discount broker and online trader. These days, Schwab sees itself as something decidedly different. “We’re not one of the other guys,” says DeLuca.

Still, tough times have some wondering if it’s wise for any financial firm to make a marketing move.

“Is it a good idea for these firms to be advertising now?” asks Paul Argenti, a professor of management and corporate communications at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business. “If you look at how people are looking at business, it’s probably not a good time to be trying to build your reputation and credibility in the financial services sector.” Also risky for Schwab is positioning itself against Wall Street’s broader business, Argenti adds.

Besides, maybe this is just what it is _ a single broker’s ad, nothing more.

“It’s an oversimplification to view this as a view of Madison Avenue, ” notes Gerri Leder, a Baltimore-based marketing consultant who once handled such duties for both Legg Mason Wood Walker and the former Alex. Brown.

Whatever the intentions behind it, Schwab’s recent blitz breaks taboos, and may stand the test of time because it does. Usually, says Argenti, companies in general ought to “remain above the fray” in commercials.

In this case, however, says Bernhardt, the marketing professor, Schwab is “negative on others, but ends up with a positive message.” The ad “may acceptably violate the principle of not being negative.” One small step for Schwab, one big step backward for Wall Street workers who haven’t gotten in step with the new swing of things.



  1. sandra -  August 12, 2016 - 11:49 am

    Using the word “ain’t” gives off the impression of being uneducated, as does other slang. Such as ” he ain’t got none”…

  2. Vlan -  August 22, 2014 - 5:50 pm

    Everyone who is against the use of it is wrong. Our entire language, as well as all other languages, are a hodgepodge of random informal things stirred together. We use this to communicate, sometimes poorly.

    I am not a master of language or anything of the sort. However, it becomes obvious to me that the entirety of our language was once informal, slang, guttural, and colloquialisms.

    Take, for instance, “font of knowledge” and “straight laced”. Neither of those mean anything as phrases because they have been misspelled and misunderstood over the course of the last decades/centuries. “fount of knowledge” and “strait laced” would be the correct spellings and make a heck of a lot more sense… well.. if you know what “fount” and “strait” mean anyway. Few people would notice that the phrases were wrong because it is accepted.

    How many of you would describe America as a democracy? We are not, and have never been a democracy. We are a republic. They are totally different things. Anyone who has ever described America as a democracy has committed a much worse sin than using “ain’t”. At least people know what “ain’t” means.

    Is it OK to use French words in the middle of an English sentence? Why are words adopted 500 years ago by the ignorant people living on the borders of two countries adopted and loved today but the same type of words adopted today are not?

    Who gets to decide exactly what is a work and what ain’t? Some nerd in a college who spends his life keeping track of words? Millions upon millions of people using the word? A bunch of people on the internet who can’t sleep when someone doesn’t agree with him?

    Please, someone, tell me a word that was not made up. From the first grunt to the last ain’t – every word has been made up in our history.

  3. Dennis Moses -  August 9, 2014 - 4:27 pm

    If it was used by Elvis to address a hound dog, it is a word.

  4. YB -  May 8, 2014 - 8:18 am

    The phrase “You ain’t heard (or seen) nothing yet”, is a double negative since ain’t, in this case, means ‘did not’. “You [did not] hear nothing…” is incorrect. One would say you did not hear anything or you heard nothing. So to change did not in both cases to ain’t would sound like this: “You ain’t heard anything yet” or “You’ve heard nothing yet”. Your thoughts???

  5. That guy over there. -  April 4, 2014 - 10:24 am

    I think that if “ain’t” is not a word than other words including, isn’t, haven’t, (ect.) should also be inproper grammar.

    • Robert Bonanno -  April 4, 2014 - 1:37 pm

      Perhaps before you argue the validity of ain’t which goes back a long time,I recommend that you type Improper instead of inproper ,because Inproper is improper ! The force be with you!

      • Vlan -  August 22, 2014 - 5:58 pm

        Nothing like a good logical fallacy to warm the belly!

        Just because someone is ignorant of a word doesn’t mean that their argument is ignorant.

  6. DIMPLE -  April 4, 2014 - 4:09 am

    So “twerking” from miley cyrus and “duh” from homer simpson is official words included in the dictionaries but we’re fussing over “ain’t”? …. Seriously?!

    • mark -  April 4, 2014 - 10:58 am

      Homer Simpson actually says, “Doh!”, not “duh”.

      It’s always struck me that ain’t is a derivative of “aye” and “not”. That seems phonetically the most reasonable explanation.

  7. Preservationist -  April 3, 2014 - 4:14 pm

    Just because “ain’t” is one colloquialism among the many commonly used words and phrases does not make it a “real” word. The fact that many coined terms and erroneously used words somehow slither their way into a dictionary does not make them “real” words either. Since “ain’t” has done just that only contributes to the further degradation of the English language.

    • Vlan -  August 22, 2014 - 5:59 pm

      English is a degradation of the base languages of which English is composed. Just saying.

  8. TheUncommonDenominator -  April 3, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    I believe that it is a word, and it also belongs in the dictionary. Ain’t is just an uncommon contraction.

    • TheUncommonDenominator -  April 3, 2014 - 2:17 pm

      But on the other hand, you could just say am not, are not, is not, isn’t, has not, hasn’t, haven’t, or have not. I just don’t like saying ain’t, it sounds uneducated.

      • TheUncommonDenominator -  April 3, 2014 - 2:20 pm

        I take what i said in the first place, I believe it is a little ignorant to say ain’t.

  9. Kincaid -  April 3, 2014 - 9:58 am

    Just sounds ignorant to me.

    If you can’t speak like you have some sense and say “We ain’t got any milk left”, then you need to go back to school.

    And, for you that know better, the real quote would be “we ain’t got no milk”.
    Just saying. If you’re going to use the word in a quote, then use it realistically to the consistent poor grammar that follows the usage.

    • TheUncommonDenominator -  April 3, 2014 - 2:18 pm

      I agree

    • Smart Person -  April 3, 2014 - 7:32 pm

      Grammar Nazi XD
      No offense. I’m just saying :P

    • Derrek Derekson -  April 3, 2014 - 7:36 pm

      How do u think British folk hear us speak. We no longer speak english but “american”! Everyday speech has becomed like texting people are abbreviating things more and more. In today’s society its becoming more widespread. It has a negative connotation to it, whch ties to that ignorance.

      • HN -  September 9, 2016 - 12:26 pm

        You do realize that the English also say the word ain’t, next time you decide to call half the country ignorant do your research. Thank you.

    • DIMPLE -  April 4, 2014 - 4:12 am

      Ignorant? So people who use slang are ignorant? Do you use “lol” when you text? I know mostly all my teachers do. Does that make them ignorant?
      Chose your words carefully, cause your sounding ignorant.

      • Vlan -  August 22, 2014 - 5:22 pm

        lol. Your sounding ignorant. You’re, you are, whatever – right?

  10. Joe W. Mendoza -  April 3, 2014 - 2:32 am

    I wish I could be a ghost and look at people I’d love the most using the word, because it’s not a word! Although words have a reason to be what they are, as pencil can’t mean God, especially such a broad word as God is broadly 3 letters long! Ain’t is technically tongues, like a baby going gaga. When it comes to difficulties learning extreme parts of English, people tend to find shortcuts, if not friends to bitch about their beef with school.

    Before I advise my opinion, I really wonder how people back then pronounced the word “amn’t.” I imagine there is a differing accent that makes it sound less cheesy if it was possible to hear someone arguing and uttering out the word. When I try to imagine it, I hear one of the Chinese Pin-ying that has the downward curve in the voice, almost as British-accents may use when having that accent. In that case, I guess the only value there is to American accents is that they are straight forward, and not having value in the honest spirit of speaking right lazily, but with suave, as opposed to American having no value of speaking right ‘nor with suave other than being understood by speaking loudly.

    Aint nearly sounds like the pirate’s concur “aigh,” like “hear, hear!” Taking “aigh” into rejection, makes it “aint.” In this case, “aigh” represents “I, eye” or in relation/agreement in itself, which can include other people, as long as it’s one agreement. It’s technically a tongue saying “disagreement, impossible, not present” in one word to utter. At least with people who don’t care, they yield to the use of luck, as in allowing human and life’s properties to its function without focusing on them. Speaking English or trying to lose weight are the only reasons to compromise one’s lucky opportunity to live. Going any further makes someone too confusing amid the epidemic of such a word akin to a curse word, or an unspeakable curse: terrorism. Using the word aint, may signify your personality as acceptable as, “servile to any cause, minding one’s character.”

    • Jane -  October 28, 2014 - 4:40 pm

      I hate to sound mean, but I can guess your age from one phrase: “advise my opinion,” but I won’t. I’m glad to see you here having a scholastic discussion. Make a copy of your answer and take it to grammarly.com and see what it says. If I had time, I’d love to do it for you. Now, here’s the thing. Ain’t is a word. It’s a contraction from 1700s. It fell into disfavor in the 19th century. It is in the OED. I teach writing, but I’ll help you for free. Drop me a line.

  11. Anonymous Grammar Nazi -  April 2, 2014 - 8:05 am

    Ain’t is a word, because commonly-used terms tend to become words. Furthemore, it is in the dictionary. I believe it should no longer be considered “slang”, and more of an uncommon contraction.

  12. nalam s b -  April 2, 2014 - 3:31 am

    obsolete english presumably used in parts of usa…still seen in early fiction/novel/literature /books published in usa…think it is a spoken colloquialism…

  13. Paul Trace -  April 2, 2014 - 3:14 am

    It makes sense to me without the apostrophe as term which used to be a real contraction but now falls under slang (since it’s current spelling divorces it of true contraction status). It’s evolution is undeniable and it’s usage is too common for it to be rendered defunct simply by telling people “aint, aint a word” because the double negative condition of the phrase only indicates, that in fact, it is. Personally I refrain from using ain’t due to it’s “debatable” status and stick to broadly agreed upon American English (possibly in an egocentric attempt to remain beyond lingual reproach). I don’t fault anyone for it’s use however. Y’all bothers me ten times more (despite it being a clear contraction of two distinguishable words).
    Don’t even get me started on Jaun (alternatively spelled Jawn) which intended to mean “thing” (usually in cases where a person would prefer not to convey specifically what their referring to, possibly owed to legal standing of an Item or for the “hip factor”. In rare cases embarrassment surrounding the object being described can spur usage). ☥

  14. Sameh Amin -  April 2, 2014 - 12:31 am

    Well, I think it could be normally used as a speech word but in formal or official letters, books and studies; of course it is not proper to be used there.

  15. Natalie -  April 1, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    I use the word ain’t all the time! Of course it’s a word to me. If it isn’t a real word then I will still use it. :)

    • John Lawrence -  April 1, 2014 - 6:59 pm

      You got the point.

      • dan Chapman -  April 3, 2014 - 10:59 am

        I always been told ain’t is word for lazy people. ie. “We aint got no milk left.”
        Which properly shoulld be.” We have no milk left” It’s just like Kids, How did that start A kid is a baby goat. Children is proper, but longer hence lazy mouth or writing.

        • Vlan -  August 22, 2014 - 6:04 pm

          Ain’t isn’t any easier to write or say than have.

        • steve C -  May 24, 2016 - 4:59 pm

          Kid comes from the German Kind which means child. It is commonly used in American English in the word Kindergarten (German) which could be translated as Kid’s garden.

      • MARKO -  April 4, 2014 - 10:32 am

        Natalie… don’t you mean – If it ain’t a real word then I will still use it? ; )

  16. Juliah -  March 31, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    I have always been taught by my father that it is not a proper word and that it is not English and I agree, however, I do think it is a slang word that as changed over time.

  17. Juliah -  March 31, 2014 - 6:26 pm

    I think that it is some sort of slang, I have been taught by my father to not use it but it is definitely a word in my opinion even if it is not proper.

    • Jane -  October 28, 2014 - 4:41 pm

      Not slang. It’s a colloquialism.

  18. Bryan H. Allen -  March 30, 2014 - 4:57 pm

        Nitpicking has not been my ethos over the years.  However, I infer that the key purpose of the “blog” (formerly, the Hot Word) is to foster excellence in understanding and usage of the English language.

        My dear “WordFreak” (March 21, 2014 - 7:09 pm), you meant to write “I did, however, notice that it was the less[-]educated characters who used these contractions.”

        When I first read that sentence, I had guessed that you had intended to write “…it was the fewer number of characters…”.  Excellent—hmm—standard punctuation does aid the reader in comprehending a text.  The absence of it sometimes impedes comprehension, as happened there.

        Good chap “David” (March 21, 2014 - 4:46 am) wrote

    …If someone uses this word[,] it appears [seems] that the person never studied English. However[,] like [!] someone said[,] among friends[,] for effect or poetic license[,] it can [g]be used. We can[o ]not ignore the fact that it exists.

        Yes, sir.  I read and finally understood your opinion.  Likewise, I cannot ignore that your non-standard (pardon me, sir: inadequate) punctuation necessitated my reading your text twice and then thrice.

        Yes, sir.  I confess that, in past years, my turgid but well-punctuated comments for this blog forced some readers to examine them more than once, and even then, grasp sometimes eluded them.  Mea culpa—and I am sorry.

        All you wonderful readers, before you post your draft comments, could you please read them, sometimes twice, and then edit them a bit before submitting them?  Your friends who may read them may thank you for your better deed, like the many people whom you will never meet.

        And David, you need not learn that, in standard English, “like” is a preposition but “as” is the counterpart conjunction.  Those are a bunch of big words.

        However, please do learn that, in standard English, the object or recipient of “like” must be a thing (or a set of words which amounts to a thing, person or place).  If the word in question joins an action phrase, then the word must be “as”.

        “…someone said…” is an action phrase (properly, a “clause”).  Therefore, the joining or subordinating word must be “as” in standard English.

        Thus, in standard English, you may say “However, as someone said,…”.  Also, you may say, “However, like the things someone said,…”, or you may say “However, like the points someone made,…”, or you may say “However, like others’ prior assertions,…”.  As you see here, standard English does offer more than one so-called “correct” way to write ideas like these.  Writing standard English need not greatly constrain your artistry—or cramp your style.

        Thank you for graciously understanding my narrow point here.

        This is my second comment here today.  Did you read my other, different opinion submitted today?

    BHA in L.A. CA, USA

    • KL Sanchez -  April 1, 2014 - 9:05 am

      By the same token, you shouldn’t need an English degree or be a law major to understand written English. Must of us read and write just fine the “slang” way.

    • RyderK -  April 1, 2014 - 12:00 pm

      Any language that does not grow with time and needs eventually extinct itself. Several of those already did. Example 1. Take the French language. They want it to stay complete and perfect, even in its daily practical application. The result is the total French speaking population is shrinking. Meaning if you do not speak Fench now, you are progressing. And if this comtiniue over 100 generation, it might extinct itself. Example 2: Who would have “thunk” some 100 years back that the world google can become a verb and a noun. Common Sense. Perfect English is for snobs.

    • paula bedford, ky -  August 16, 2014 - 8:01 am

      Sweetie put down the red pen, step away from the computer, and relax. This is just a blog.

  19. Mike -  March 30, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    My Grade eight teacher and I had a school year debate on the validity of the word ain’t… I argued it was correct word and she argued it wasn’t. I continued to use it in assignments and every time I did she took a mark off… I argued it every time. By the end of the year she talked with me and told me never to use it again, cause If i did I would fail. So, in fear of my mark, I let it go…. Reading it’s history was very interesting.

  20. mprato -  March 30, 2014 - 12:10 am

    “If” there is a Heaven or a Hell….. and you happen to be standing in either one of them at the beginning of your afterlife (If there is one) This will not be on the QUIZ to get in to or thrown out of either. SOOOO who cares.
    Smile every day you are one step closer to you grave. Stop wasting what little time you have on small issues. Go have fun and get away from your computer.

  21. Tobi -  March 29, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    Ain’t is a southern thing, but it’s definitely a word. So many people use it that it can’t can’t be anything but.

  22. Mike -  March 28, 2014 - 7:33 pm

    All words are words, aren’t they? Some are slang, some are obscene, some are archaic, some can’t be printed here, some are “incorrect usage” but still a word is a word.

  23. John Navratil -  March 27, 2014 - 7:45 pm

    Ain’t don’t bother me near as much as ‘there’s’ as in “there’s many reasons not to like a word.”

    And you ain’t got close to my verb conjugation of ‘to be’.

    Or using that there adjectival form for an adverb. Heeew-weee!

  24. Vanessa L -  March 27, 2014 - 12:55 pm

    Personally, it sounds as a Southern accent. Reading through the blog and some comments, I can’t help but have a little Southern accent reading it back to me in my head. To me, “ain’t” seems like a stereotype.

  25. HerdOfPianos -  March 27, 2014 - 11:42 am

    I live in south Texas so if you don’t say “ain’t”, you’re automatically a yankee.

  26. Simon -  March 27, 2014 - 9:00 am

    asda;lkl;kf is not a word. Ain’t is.

  27. Random guy -  March 26, 2014 - 4:56 pm

    Ain’t is a slang contraction, so it is not good for essays but can be used to clear up some speech.

    To make it short, ain’t is/isn’t a word.
    Your argument is invalid.

  28. William -  March 25, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    It should be a word

  29. John -  March 24, 2014 - 10:32 pm

    Hello I come from japan

  30. Shirley Lindsey -  March 24, 2014 - 5:59 pm

    Of course “ain’t” is a perfectly acceptable word. I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

  31. Frank -  March 24, 2014 - 5:49 am

    Ain’t ain’t a word, but that doesn’t stop me using it.

  32. Marques -  March 22, 2014 - 9:31 am

    yea i believe its a word in fact its in the dictionary so why not use it

  33. WordFreak -  March 21, 2014 - 7:09 pm

    I was recently reading a book written around 1850s – 1860s, set in a mix of rural New York State and New York City high society, and I must say that the use of “ain’t”, “bain’t”, “don’t” instead of “doesn’t” and – yes – “am’nt” did get on my nerves after 350 pages! I did, however, notice that it was the less educated characters who used these contractions.

  34. Rachel Willow K -  March 21, 2014 - 8:24 am

    Ain’t? NOT a word. I use it sometimes, and even my Dad does, but I don’t believe it’s a word.

  35. David -  March 21, 2014 - 4:46 am

    As Simon and Garfunkle said, ¨The man ain´t got no culture¨ I think that says it all. If someone uses this word it appears that the person never studied English. However like someone said among friends for effect or poetic license it can gbe used. We cano not ignore the fact that it exists.

  36. doom -  March 19, 2014 - 9:13 am


  37. Realtor Garcia -  March 19, 2014 - 5:10 am

    Pronunciation and speech along with accents and the way some cultures communicate accepts “aint” . Of course it derives from not using the correct words like have not, are not, isn’t etc.. which can make us think that it lacks education and knowledge of pronunciation of the words. Sometimes we speak fast and morph words together, but if we say the two words slowly, then we will see that they closely resemble each other. We accept “can’t” instead of cannot! Accents and geographical cultures play a large role in word pronunciation and acceptance of word usage.

  38. Ayedeas -  March 18, 2014 - 4:20 am

    I personally agree with those who’ve said that “Ain’t” isn’t for formal writing, such as research papers or books (unless used in dialogue.)

    Just imagine: “The horse is a complicated animal, in that one must know its signals and language in order to know how to safely handle it. If a person were to walk behind a horse who was showing signs of anger, but did not understand the signals it was sending, they couldn’t think it ain’t going to kick them.” That doesn’t sound very formal or intelligent, does it? However, if you’re writing dialogue for a book or something, Ain’t is completely acceptable.

    “That horse ain’t gonna bite.”
    “Your four-wheeler ain’t gonna fit through that.”
    “No you ain’t.”

    In conclusion, I won’t judge or discriminate a person for using the word “ain’t” in conversation, but I wouldn’t suggest putting it in your resume.

  39. Someone Over The Rainbow -  March 17, 2014 - 5:37 pm


  40. Someone Over The Rainbow -  March 17, 2014 - 5:34 pm

    Everyone! We all have different opinions about the word “ain’t” To some people it’s a word. To others, not so much. Arguing isn’t going to solve your problems. Respect others differences. I end my case.

  41. Denmo -  March 17, 2014 - 8:45 am

    Raffles, you use such bad grammar. It’s “It ain’t EVER going away!!!!”

  42. steve -  March 16, 2014 - 9:53 pm

    I agree with the people who have said that ain’t shouldn’t be used in formal writng but is okay in casual writing or speech. I think Lexi (Feb 27th) says it pretty well. (-: I just wonder if Lexi’s last name is Conn. :-)

  43. DrakeF -  March 16, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    Many have heard “Ain’t ain’t a word, so I ain’t gonna use it.” But like many have said before me. It’s perfectly acceptable as it is a contraction of 3 different words.

  44. raffles -  March 16, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    It ain’t never going away!!!!!!!!!!

  45. wolf tamer and iron miner -  March 13, 2014 - 10:35 pm

    We don’t have to fight about it.

  46. wolf tamer and iron miner -  March 13, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    “Ain’t” is definitely a word, it just isn’t formal English. It is a contraction of “am/are,” “is,” and “not.”


    Minecraft is Awesome – March 8, 2014 – 12:47 pm

    Ain’t no Party like a Minecraft party!



    I agree 100%! :D


  47. Forrest -  March 13, 2014 - 9:47 pm

    no way I was gonna read this whole discourse but one thing screams out loud and clear. There ain’t ever going to be a consensus regarding this
    particular contraction nor whether it’s actually, “There ain’t never…”, or not.
    Ain’t is slang. Anywhere but in the South, where anyone who does not want to sound to much like they are from the South avoid the use of it. As Cymast pointed out, it’s a hick sound. “Lower class” Brits have been known to employ the word and seem to find the use of it entirely propah.
    In this country, the North won the War, so isn’t is more proper than ain’t
    in all the grammar books written here.
    That’s not to say though, that ain’t is not a real contraction of “is not”. To millions of people, for hundreds of years it’s worked just fine for it’s intended purpose: to communicate.
    If anyone noticed my use of the word “gonna” in place of the words “going to” in the first sentence, you may be delighted to know the word
    clears the spell check, no problem.
    U c wat i mn? Fluid lengua.
    the word is defined in my editions of both Webster’s Encyclopedic
    Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Webster’s
    New World Dictionary but conflict regarding the classification of standard
    or sub-standard colloquial use of it.
    Go figure

  48. Someone Special -  March 13, 2014 - 5:24 pm


  49. Julie -  March 13, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    I do not think it matters whether or not we use it. we dont have to get into a fight about it.

  50. Julie -  March 13, 2014 - 5:18 pm

    I do not think it matters whether or not you use it. It works just as well as any other word.

  51. Bill -  March 13, 2014 - 6:42 am

    Aint – Anti – Against – AINT- A g a I N s T -

  52. Tomeka Smith -  March 12, 2014 - 8:50 am

    Aside from the negative connotation assigned to the word ain’t, typically a contraction is comprised of two words which are blended/shortened to make one. Aren’t clearly is comprised of are and not; isn’t is clearly is and not etc. Because there are no two complete words which when shortened create the contraction ‘ain’t', I refuse to allow this word to be used in my classroom. Just because it is a widely accepted colloquialism and is used in a plethora of well known adages does not make it correct.

  53. Meg -  March 12, 2014 - 3:42 am

    I would say “ain’t” is more acceptable in casual speech among friends. However, it is not proper in formal writing, such as a research paper or something of similar ilk. That said, thanks to “text speak” and such, the state of American English is deplorable and arguing over the validity of “ain’t” seems almost quaint.

  54. Mike Dean -  March 12, 2014 - 2:03 am

    In Victorian England, ‘ain’t’ could be sometimes heard on the lips of even educated people. Harris, in Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’ (1889), says “Ain’t you going to put the boots in?” See also the use of the word ‘don’t’ when we would normally use ‘doesn’t', e.g. “A dog like that don’t want any encouragement” (same book).

  55. jackie -  March 11, 2014 - 10:28 pm

    I am from the south, and I do not “ain’t” NO, NO and NO it is not cool lol. For me it is not the question of who says it or why. The question I often ask myself is; Why do intelligent people who know how to speak using real words, proper grammar, think this word is acceptable?

  56. None of your beezwax -  March 11, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    Ain’t is a word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. giulia -  March 10, 2014 - 8:18 pm

    I like “ain’t,” even though I would never be able to pull off using it, even in conversation. Without words like “ain’t,” language would be colorless and we would all sound like robots.

  58. Maria -  March 10, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Regardless of its history, the word “ain’t” makes one sound illerate or like an ignoramus. In addition, it has an offensive sound.

  59. Zeze -  March 9, 2014 - 10:01 am

    I agree with what most people are saying – it most certainly is a word, just not one that should be used during a formal event. However, it’s just fine to use during friendly conversation. I myself never really use the word ain’t, but that’s simply because neither my parents nor my friends ever really used it, and therefore it never became part of my vocabulary. I have no problem with other people using the word, though.

  60. Minecraft is Awesome -  March 8, 2014 - 12:47 pm

    Ain’t no Party like a Minecraft party!


  61. LaChanan -  March 7, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Keep it. Has both grammatical correct, and valid slang usages. No need to relegate ourselves to English Prime.

  62. Jill Hunter -  March 6, 2014 - 9:58 am

    In our circle, “You ain’t” means “You aren’t right in the head,” and is often heard in an accounting firm and library. In Houston~

  63. hi -  March 6, 2014 - 7:34 am

    ain’t is a word it’s in the dictionary but it’s not correct grammar.

  64. bj -  March 6, 2014 - 7:26 am

    I think ain’t is a word if it is in the dictionary but it isn’t correct grammer

  65. wolf tamer and iron miner -  March 6, 2014 - 4:22 am

    “Ain’t” is undeniably a word, understood, if not used, by millions of English-speakers, although it isn’t standard English. It’s fine to say “ain’t,” unless standard English is required in that particular situation. Otherwise, “ain’t” is perfectly acceptable.


  66. Albert Sisco - Portfolio Manager -  March 5, 2014 - 2:23 pm

    AIN’T is a slang word and should remain that way. This word should never be used outside of a friendly conversation.

  67. LGiberson -  March 4, 2014 - 3:18 pm

    I teach 9th grade English in rural Virginia and this question comes up all the time. Of course it is a word. Let’s get away with the term ‘proper’ English and rather encourage ‘standard,’ or ‘business’ English.

    Ain’t is a word, but should not be used when ‘standard’ or ‘business’ English is more appropriate.

    I tell my students that in certain situations they should ‘dress up’ their language as they would their clothing attire. Using ‘ain’t’ in a job interview is like wearing cut-off shorts to church. Simply not appropriate.

  68. Jessi Joyce -  March 4, 2014 - 8:38 am

    You can argue if you want to but it will always be a word in my dictionary

  69. Dr.Sloth -  March 3, 2014 - 3:37 pm


    AIN’T IS A WORD, DEAL WITH IT PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. Tony -  March 3, 2014 - 2:15 am

    Ain’t is used in most English-speaking countries regularly. Here in England it’s in constant use. Even the word “amn’t” is still used in some parts of the North.

  71. alman2k -  March 2, 2014 - 1:54 pm

    The word ain’t should be considered a word, but only as a slang word. It should not be used formally. I “Ain’t” got a problem with it at all. Why so much fuss? It just ain’t right.

  72. Mike Green -  March 1, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    It depends largely on what ground you are standing on at the time. In the South it’s very commonplace and accepted. I think that is so because of where our early American settlers arrived from. Here in North Carolina our mountains in the west have a heavy Scotch/Irish history. In the central Piedmont settlers were mostly English. Other words we use in the South hail from our ancestor’s from Europe. Grammer purist’s may call it colloquial, I call it Colonial.

  73. Garrett Tate -  February 27, 2014 - 10:45 pm

    I cannot fathom how this is still in debate. The word has been use for 300 years and is likely uttered several hundred thousand times daily in the southern United States. It is also almost unanimously understood. The fact that northern elitists do not approve of said use does not exclude it from being a word. The term ‘twerk’ has existed for less than half a decade and somehow it received slang admission.

  74. Lexi -  February 27, 2014 - 8:26 pm

    The word “ain’t” is not a proper word and should not be used in any form of proper writing; however, it is a slang word, meaning that in everyday speech, there is nothing wrong with using it. It can also be useful in giving a certain type of voice to a character in creative writing.

    In other words: formally, do not use “ain’t”; informally, knock yourself out.

  75. Dr. Li -  February 27, 2014 - 7:48 pm

    The ever evolving English language. Just because it’s routes are somewhat modern and not Latin or Greek does not make it any less, a word. It’s used, therefore it is. We are but to document it’s use, not decide whether it “makes the cut”.

  76. Maricelis -  February 27, 2014 - 2:31 pm

    Ain’t is definitely a word. I use it almost everyday.

  77. kk01 -  February 27, 2014 - 6:56 am

    Ain’t. IS a word why can’t it be?:)

  78. Annabelle -  February 26, 2014 - 4:58 pm

    The point of language is to get the point across, which “ain’t” does. So, yes, it is acceptable.

  79. Mara -  February 25, 2014 - 4:30 pm

    To each their own, I say. It’s a part of language, slang or not. As long as I can understand you, and you can understand me, there really shouldn’t be any fuss.

  80. Lisa -  February 25, 2014 - 5:59 am

    It derives from the late 18th century word amn’t, which is a contraction of “am not.” Amn’t and the related word an’t are rarely used anymore. There are several antiquated non-standard contractions. Hain’t means “has not” or “have not.” And baint and bain’t mean “be not.”

    Why is there all this discussion about ain’t? It looks like to me that people just dropped the “H” from hain’t, which maybe non-standard or considered antiquated, it may also be derived from an old english word like “howdy”.

  81. Hanah -  February 24, 2014 - 4:21 am

    Yes! ain’t IS a word and I AM gonna say it!

  82. Amanda -  February 23, 2014 - 11:19 am

    The one true judge of the “realness” of a word is whether or not it is used in spoken language. Languages are born, grow, adapt, evolve, and die. It’s part of what makes human communication so amazing.

    It isn’t “lazy grammar” to use a single contraction in place of many others. In fact, its efficient. It also carries its only load of meaning used in a variety of situation. It is appropriate in some and inappropriate in others. Much like cuss words. But you wouldn’t say they are lazy speakers or that cuss words aren’t real words. Because you would sound pretty dumb.

    If people say it, then it is what it is. A word. A real one.

  83. Prempeh Quincy -  February 23, 2014 - 3:31 am

    Ain’t is kinda cool.It is and should always be allowed

  84. Jess Andersen -  February 22, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    One of the proudest moments of my misspent youth was getting my mother to exclaim’ Ai’nt,ain’t a word!!!’ I’m a bad son…

  85. annoyoous -  February 21, 2014 - 10:09 pm

    ain’t is a proper word

  86. Larry Hinkle -  February 21, 2014 - 5:08 pm

    Contrary to popular belief, the presence of something in the dictionary doesn’t mean it’s a word. To put it differently, dictionaries are updated all the time, based on common usage. (I have a friend who used to work on a dictionary.) For example, something like “ginormous” is used frequently now, but was unheard of even five years ago. I think it’s stupid and not a word, but if it sticks around, it will soon be found in dictionaries.

    BTW, as a grammar Nazi I can say that, no matter what anyone thinks, “ain’t” isn’t a word, it’s a contraction. ;-)

  87. Leslie -  February 19, 2014 - 10:56 am

    What really drives me nuts is hearing someone say… cain’t. (The redneck/southern version of can’t or cannot.) I used to work in a professional county government finance office with someone who’d say that–and not just to be funny–and I’d wanna smack them.

  88. Kenadee -  February 19, 2014 - 7:20 am

    If “crunk,” “bling,” and “sexting” are words; ain’t certainly is too!

  89. mayama -  February 19, 2014 - 6:57 am

    ,it’s * sorry

  90. mayama -  February 19, 2014 - 6:55 am

    ain’t is in the dictionary so it’s a word saying it isn’t is like saying anything with a apostrophe isn’t a word

  91. Shannon -  February 18, 2014 - 8:17 pm

    I think it is a word, maybe not a “proper” one. It is a slang/ colloquial word, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be defined as a word. It does tend to have a very casual or even “lower-class” connotation to it, particularly when paired with incorrect grammar, as in the sentence, “We ain’t got no milk.” It’s not appropriate to be used when teaching language or when in a professional setting, but I would say that it is still a word and acceptable in colloquialisms and/or in certain settings or dialogues.

  92. Professor of Peace -  February 18, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Although it ain’t my business, I think AINT should be considered a word that is an acronym for Are (or) Is Not True.

  93. kathy -  February 17, 2014 - 2:16 pm

    i use the word all the time- there aint nothin’ wrong with it!

  94. Don Ciesielski -  February 17, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    I ain’t saying!

  95. E -  February 17, 2014 - 10:17 am

    P.S. btw H112233 I saw your comment about grammar Nazis. lol.

  96. E -  February 17, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Joshua is right. You guys do talk like grammatically uneducated people when you argue like this. That’s why people consider ain’t improper.
    Hahaha… Autocorrect is underlining ain’t in red as I type…
    I think ain’t is not a real word, but I’m fine with people using it. I do when I want to sound like a Cajun or redneck just for effect. Other people have brought up good points below, like the hashtag argument. Ain’t shouldn’t be considered a real word, but no one should really make a big deal about it, really.

  97. Ecnirp Lladnar -  February 17, 2014 - 6:50 am

    You wish a static language? Language is, must be, a living thing IMHO.

    It ebbs and flows… a suggestion? Return to Latin… or, perhaps Chaldee.

    So… if ye ain’t got a grip on that shit, shut the f**k up and realize what

    reality is rather than what YOU *think* it should be, ’tis what ’tis, eh?

    Either word is in common use world-wide for a l-o-n-g time. The first, for

    a century (more than) the latter, for centuries. Why can either be

    considered unworthy of a place in our language?

    I would submit, neither can be

    refused, by reason of use.

    Each *is* already a part of our language, regardless of what any of us


    May I be so bold as to say also, end of argument?

  98. R -  February 16, 2014 - 2:57 pm

    No comment about this but you should make propper use of sign, it isn’t “Ain’t it the truth!” with “!”, it’s a question, a “?” goes there, not “!”.

  99. cupcake -  February 16, 2014 - 4:33 am


  100. Cass -  February 15, 2014 - 2:52 am

    If it is a word that doesn’t mean the people that don’t want to use it have to use it, what harm will it do to them anyway, and if you ban it as a word you’re making people have to change there speech to be ‘grammatically’ correct whereas if it is a word those who don’t use it STILL don’t have to use it. And I believe over the years there are just going to be more words made anyway, so what’s the harm of making ain’t a word? By the way my spell-check say’s it’s a word and didn’t correct me. You try arguing with spell check they’ll pound you.

  101. Joshua -  February 14, 2014 - 6:45 am

    I love that all of you arguing that it should be considered a real word, sound and type like idiots. You are the sole reason it should be banned from the English language. Either way, it is a word due to the fact that it exist. Is it proper? Absolutely not. So I say, if you like to use sloppy English, then by all means, continue saying it. I choose to speak correctly though.

  102. Ryan -  February 11, 2014 - 4:56 am

    I think many people are missing the point of the word as it exists today. Not only does it carry a great deal of meanings, but it also carries a tone. It is informal and relaxed, and can be fun to use!

    Think about this: Imagine in your mind “The F word”. Is it a real word? Does it have a billion different uses? If you don’t think f*** should be a real word then I’m not surprised you think ain’t shouldn’t be a real word.

    Let’s reverse that now!and ask the same of ain’t. Is it a real word? Does it have a billion different uses? If you don’t think ain’t should be a real word then I’m not surprised you think f*** shouldn’t be a real word.

  103. Aidan -  February 10, 2014 - 2:24 pm

    I think that because people know what the word means, it is therfore a word. Hashtag wouldn’t have been considered a word in 2000, and now almost everyone knows what it is.

  104. kmay0 -  February 10, 2014 - 6:21 am

    I think ain`t should be a word, because im a country girl, and use aint all the time. And you ain`t `bout to tell me that ain`t, ain`t a word.

  105. Monica Lynn Foster-Perryman -  February 8, 2014 - 8:04 pm

    Sure it shell be used only those who call it not a word is demand unexceptionable to use it do to he or she does not know the true meaning of the proper English content of the word due to their higher man educated mind of it of should have been would have been and just plan just country to say for those who call themselves upper class rank citizens of Montgomery Public schools and all the other school board members to around the world. I will continue to say from my lips of Praise God’s Favor ain’t fare why he favored Abraham over his nephew Lot lifestyle of living when chose to live in the land of Lustful called Solam and Gomorrah.

  106. Cherry -  February 7, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    Yes, I use “ain’t” when appropriate and will continue to do so. I applaud the use of a word that’s been around for many generations. I reckon most y’all ain’t been around pert near as long as the word “ain’t”!

  107. Dwayne Knirk -  February 7, 2014 - 10:24 am

    We’re speaking about a word brought from southern England into American English through immigrants to Virginia and the Carolinas in the later 1600s. Perhaps the utility that leads to centuries of survival in a language could be considered sufficient for accepting this in the American English vocabulary.

  108. Kyndal -  February 7, 2014 - 9:33 am

    I say ain’t. It depends on who I’m speaking with. If I’m casually conversing with my african-american friends, it may slip from a sentence or two. OR, if I’m speaking with my Canton friends, you won’t hear me say it at all… My tone, and grammar, changes depending on who I’m with at any given moment. (:

  109. Fauziya -  February 5, 2014 - 8:52 pm

    It shouldn’t be a word, we’ve already isn’t, hasn’t, aren’t etc..

  110. H112233 -  February 5, 2014 - 6:31 pm

    P.S. You ” Grammar Nazis” are wrong for once. Accept the loss.

  111. H112233 -  February 5, 2014 - 6:28 pm

    I AIN’T a grammar nazi, (Get it!) but ain’t is a word. I already explained somewhere down there in the comments section that ain’t means aye (yes = (for example) “aye aye captain!” a.k.a “yes captain!”) and not, well, you should know what that means if you can read. Yes and not combined pretty much means no, disagree, not yes, etc. So, overall in general, ain’t is a word, just misunderstood. So for all those who say ain’t ain’t a word, think of the origin. Ain’t = aye + not. DUH. Don’t write essays, don’t type out graphs, don’t try to say that ain’t isn’t a word; ain’t is a word.

  112. Mary -  February 4, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    I think that ain’t should not be a word. it’s just lazy to have a word that covers everything. Most people in the U.S.A don’t have correct grammar anyway, so who needs another word that is just as lazy as everyone saying it??? Ain’t isn’t even really a word, it’s basically an acronym! think about it…
    A: aren’t
    I: isn’t
    N’T: not
    I’t doesn’t make sense!!! You could just use aren’t, isn’t or not. You have to give ain’t some credit, though. It’s not spell-checked on my computer. So, all in all, ain’t ain’t a word.
    Shout out to all my fellow grammar Nazis out there! :D

  113. anna -  February 4, 2014 - 11:08 am

    I think ain’t shouldn’t be a word because it means aren’t isn’t and not

  114. Jon -  February 4, 2014 - 10:47 am

    What makes a word? Frequency of usage is probably one factor. General understanding is probably another. “Ain’t” is used much more frequently than other accepted words. It’s also generally understood by listeners. Since the controversy lingers on, “ain’t” probably isn’t generally accepted as a word, but in my opinion, it should be for at least those reasons.

  115. Kyle -  February 4, 2014 - 8:57 am

    I think that whether linguists like the word or not, or indeed whether they recognize it as a word at all, is irrelevant considering its wide-spread use. Besides, the English language is evolving so fast at present day, that to claim to have control over it is plain asinine. Its use both as a colloquial contraction and as a word that can be interpreted in multiple ways means that it can and should be used (when viable) in literature and art. It has been around for so long that I doubt its “official status” even matters to most of the world; people use it, let’s recognize it.

  116. bjrobson -  February 4, 2014 - 2:22 am

    Ain’t got any eggs is Ya?..( No, I ain’t )…I ain’t askin’ ya if ya is, I’m askin’ ya if ya ain’t !

  117. wolf tamer and coal miner -  February 4, 2014 - 1:37 am

    A I N ‘ T
    Am/Are / Is N[o]t

    We need both the A and the I so that the word will cover all the bases: “am,” “are,” and “is.” It’s a combination of “aren’t” and “isn’t,” with “amn’t” thrown in for good measure.

    (To those who are bashing “ain’t”: This comment was brought to you by Grammar Nazis like you. Thank you!)

  118. wolf tamer and coal miner -  February 4, 2014 - 1:29 am

    An Awesome Minecrafter – January 21, 2014 – 5:11 am

    Take a look at Dictionary.com’s definition of “word.” You will find that it is “a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning” – not “a group of sounds or letters found in the Oxford Dictionary and accepted as correct by Grammar Nazis.” I don’t use the word “ain’t” much myself (for me it sounds a little bit off), but I would use it for emphasis: “I ain’t giving him a cent!” Lay off “ain’t,” people. What did it ever do to you?

    I agree, Awesome Minecrafter! :)

  119. Ketselyn -  February 3, 2014 - 10:43 pm

    “Ain’t”, to me, seems acceptable in informal speech and writing, but I would never use it professionally. Anonymous mentioned the contraction “shan’t”. I find this interesting. We all know that an apostrophe’s job is to take the place of omitted letters. Having said that, wouldn’t the correct form be “sha’n't”? When I want to condense “should not have”, I write “shouldn’t've”. It seems like the right thing to do, it makes sense, and it’s more consistent. Just something to think about.

  120. Chris -  February 3, 2014 - 6:08 pm

    I often go back and forth when pondering the English language. One the one hand, if the word gets the message across, it has achieved its purpose. On the other hand, I don’t like ain’t and I do tend to pass small judgment when I hear it used in conversation. I personally really enjoy expanding my vocabulary and learning splendid new words, but if nobody else understands them, there is little point. My spirit says that ain’t should not be used and that the persistent ignorance of others should not be allowed to drag down the intricacies of the English language. Also, my spell check doesn’t recognize ain’t, so there’s always that. :)

  121. Sandy Clark -  February 3, 2014 - 2:29 pm

    Ain’t should not be a word. It is not proper English. Even though a lot of people say ain’t doesn’t mean it’s proper

  122. Curious -  February 3, 2014 - 2:10 pm

    It’s interesting that a simple word like ain’t is controversial and generated a lot of comments. I have a BA and MA in English and would never use the word myself, but I don’t see a problem with it used in informal speech. Anonymous says it’s not a proper contraction, but everything in English doesn’t derive from proper sources. The word does have some sort of pedigree going back to the 18th century.

    I have to say that the word ain’t does have a punchy, emphatic quality that the other contractions lack. I guess the problem with it being considered improper usage is that it’s associated with lower social classes and lack of education. Use ain’t with care.

  123. nikli cyrus -  February 3, 2014 - 8:52 am

    i think ain’t is a good word. It enhances the beauty of the sentense (atleast for me) and it is acceptable.
    i would prefer “he ain’t at home” rathar than saying it long that, “he is not at home”
    feel the difference ! make the difference! :D

  124. Tamara Plane -  February 3, 2014 - 5:50 am

    It boggles my mind that a word like ‘twerk’ can earn it’s place in the dictionary in what seems like little then a year, but ‘ain’t’ cannot earn it’s keep in over a hundred.

    It makes you think.

  125. Anonymous -  February 3, 2014 - 1:48 am

    In as much as this is a good attempt at a real word, due to the “want” for a word that “covers everything” (lazy grammar in my opinion), it is however, simply not a real word.

    The most logical answer is that Real contractions can be seen in the resulting word, when you merge the words together.

    For example:
    hasn’t = has n[o]t
    wasn’t = was n[o]t
    aren’t = are n[o]t

    Even slightly older examples reflect this structure such as:
    Shan’t = Sha[ll] n[o]t
    ’tis = [i]t is

    However, there is no English word that will expand from the “ai” in “ain’t”, thus quite simply, it is an extremely informal word, that propagates the “lazy grammar” used by youths in an attempt to have many contractions handled by one informal word that does not follow the grammatical logic of the English language (which surprisingly isn’t all that grammatically logical).

    As a possibly extreme perspective, these youths have not taken any effort to assimilate the English language into their day to day lives, and thus are fine with having an incorrect word as their “catch-all” so they don’t have to take the time to get to know all the REAL contractions that this one “hack” word attempts to handle.

    Having said this, unfortunately, the English language today is extremely “broke” by the lack of respect for good structure and syntax. This means that no matter how well I could argue the illegitimacy of the word “ain’t”, there will always be someone out there who has determined in his/her own mind that the world MUST change to conform to the illiterate youths of today, and thus we will never really improve, but only digress from good structure and practice in our daily speech, going from well spoken and understood in the society, to “anything goes”.


  126. Dhileas -  February 2, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    I think that ain’t should be considered to be a word in colloquial speech, however, when one is writing, or using formal language, for example writing a letter, ain’t is not acceptable, as words such as aren’t and haven’t are also unacceptable. It is simply not formal enough.

  127. don touchton -  February 2, 2014 - 11:56 am

    I failed to finish my thought before submitting: comes of being interrupted. Of course it is not good form to use the term if you are a public speaker or seeking a job that requires a modicum of poise, but it has always bothered me that when a person uses the term that some people smirk as though he/she is ignorant, which ain’t necessarily the case. Ain’t is a word, and just because some people feel it is not becoming for an educated person to use and attaches that sort of significance to its usage, does not make them correct. It is a word, and the PC crowd will not be able to eliminate it from the spoken word. The written word, however, is another matter.

  128. don touchton -  February 2, 2014 - 11:36 am

    it ain’t hard to figure out. folks that think aint’ ain’t a word, are snobs and are PC to the core. Of course its a word, I ain’t seen a living soul that hain’t known what it means when it is used. What about ho’, and do’, and mo’? If I were to say (but I never would) “That ho` ain’t got no mo` sense than to shut the do` on every opportunity that comes her way.” You know exactly what I mean.

  129. Debra Jo Chiapuzio -  February 2, 2014 - 11:09 am

    “Ain’t” sure?!.

  130. Phuong Nga Ngo -  February 2, 2014 - 12:14 am

    I think that word is acceptable :) Everybody uses it, indeed :)

  131. Theophanous -  January 30, 2014 - 10:40 pm

    “Many years ago, it was decided that the language of the Americas be English; nobody knows why this decision was never carried out.”

    I quote Bernard Shaw from memory, so it is not “verbatim”; but I am sure it is 99% correct (in form) and 100% correct (in context).

    Some of the comments below bare witness to this fact too. Yes, every language is evolving, but what is this mania with “simplification”? Do the advocates of this trend think that their ancestors had more time at their disposal and could, therefore, indulge in a complex language which, now, should be simplified? Absurd!

  132. H112233 -  January 30, 2014 - 6:54 pm

    ain’t means aye and not together. aye means yes, so aye and not means no.

  133. Avraelle -  January 30, 2014 - 11:30 am

    The opposite of “is”, is “isn’t”….. aint it? Where did the word “aint” originate from? “Aint” should never be followed by “no”.

  134. wolf tamer and coal miner -  January 30, 2014 - 8:45 am

    The two aren’t related. Although I guess I see what you mean… Try telling that to Southerners (like me :) ) though! ;)

  135. Linda -  January 30, 2014 - 5:44 am

    I just typed in the word “twerking” and it gave a definition. So if twerking is no listed in dictionaries, then “ain’t” should be too. America has been using the word a lot longer than Miley Cyrus has been twerking!

  136. Japster -  January 29, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Just think of the simplifying effect on the English language. One of the hardest things for those learning English is conjugating verbs. Ain’t is perfect for teaching newcomers. present tense – I ain’t, you ain’t, he/she/it ain’t, we ain’t, y’all ain’t, they ain’t; past tense – I ain’t, you ain’t, he/she/it ain’t, we ain’t, y’all ain’t, they ain’t; future tense – I ain’t, you ain’t, he/she/it ain’t, we ain’t, y’all ain’t, they ain’t. Just imagine we could cut out 2-3 years of grammar in schools and save billions in taxpayer dollars. It could replace all being verbs and helping verbs in the negative. Now all we need is a word for the affirmative.

  137. Pam -  January 29, 2014 - 11:30 am

    If “ain’t” isn’t a word, then Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and every other state south of the Ohio river needs an English lesson.

  138. M.N.Sudarsn -  January 29, 2014 - 12:11 am

    Too many contractions would reduce any writing to a cryptogram and confuse people across the globe..’” AIN”T’” , as long as it stands for “AM NOT” no problem. If extended to “ARE NOT”, “IS NOT”? we can accept with reservations, as it relates to a ‘ “BE form”‘ verb. But extending it to all, as substitute for “HAVE NOT, HAS NOT,, DO NOT, DOES NOT” , does not sound reasonable. One need not be a strict grammarian or an authority on English to nix such things.

  139. Abbi -  January 28, 2014 - 1:58 pm

    If ain’t can be a word then Pluto can be a planet…

  140. JCruz -  January 28, 2014 - 3:54 am

    It must be accepted. Language is ever evolving and it driven by culture. “Ain’t” is just one of them. Otherwise, English would still be what it was hundred years ago.

  141. Rose -  January 28, 2014 - 1:42 am

    If selfie is in the dictionary, then i believe that ‘ain’t’ should be. There are many differences between the two words obviously, but the most important one (In my opinion) is that ain’t had been around far longer than selfie.

  142. Fark Regal -  January 27, 2014 - 1:00 pm

    If english-speakers from the middle ages were to communicte with us today, it is likely that they will have a moderate level of difficulty communicating with us fully. Why? Because languages evolve, they change over time. 100 years ago, “shopping” was not in the french dictionary, but now it is a word french speakers use EVERY DAY. What may seem like poor, improper grammar now, might become the “correct” way of speaking in the future. Who knows, maybe one day they might put “ain’t” in the Oxford dictionary, but for now, it isn’t worth debating

  143. Electra Hansford -  January 25, 2014 - 3:23 pm

    In my opinion, “ain’t” ain’t really a word.

  144. Iain -  January 25, 2014 - 11:36 am

    What a stupid question! ‘ Is it a word? ‘ What on Earth do you mean?

    ‘ Aint ‘ is the opposite of ‘ is ‘, in some varieties of English. Full stop. There’s nothing further to discuss.

  145. Yolanda -  January 24, 2014 - 11:08 am

    Larry said it best! Creativity is in the carefully chosen usage.

  146. shion -  January 23, 2014 - 5:56 pm

    who cares?

  147. Fiona -  January 23, 2014 - 3:15 pm

    I think it should be a word people all around use it a lot so, yeah it should definitely be a word. So i an’t gonna argue with nobody.

  148. Kevin -  January 22, 2014 - 5:15 pm

    Ain’t is NOT a word. Just because some people use it daily, doesn’t mean it is a word. It doesn’t even have a definite definition. People can debate endlessly about what it means and at one point, it just gets completely confusing.

    Also, you can substitute real words in “ain’t”s place such as

    You ___haven’t___ heard (or seen) nothing yet.
    Say it __isn’t___ so, Joe!
    ___Isn’t___ it the truth!

    In everyday speech it can be acceptable as a form of slang like “cos/cuz” instead of because, but it shouldn’t be considered a real word.

  149. Curly -  January 22, 2014 - 2:17 pm

    Of course ain’t is a word. We wouldn’t be using it with our heads or writing articles about it if it wasn’t.

  150. larry -  January 22, 2014 - 7:49 am

    One of the beauties of English is that we can reserve certain portions of vocabulary for various uses. If one wishes to sound conservatively religious, “thee” and “thou” are available. If the sound of a Southern Colonel more pleases the ears, “victuals” can be consumed. With relatively little effort, we can be as euphonious or annoying as the situation demands.
    “Ain’t” (and its hairy-armed sister “Tain’t nither”) are remarkably useful for achieving a pungent redneckery (argue about that word!) when desired.
    Obviously, being literate is the key in having the choice to not require their constant use. I believe we tend to view excessive profanity in the same light.
    Still, the problem is not now, nor has ever been, with the word. The problem is with the snooty judgments and unsolicted corrections that these words seem to grant license. Who wrote that rule? While the use of “ain’t” may prompt a judgment, who decided we could expound on that publicly? Often even to strangers? The problem is the knee-jerk response, not the word.

  151. Rose -  January 22, 2014 - 6:21 am

    While “ain’t” IS a word, I personally think it is bad grammar. I still slip sometimes and say it, but when I hear someone else say it, it sounds “hick”. I think it’s a slang term like “gosh”, “darn”, etc.

  152. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 22, 2014 - 2:11 am

    And, of course, we can’t forget the ever-popular use of “ain’t” in songs.

  153. Victoria Stevens -  January 21, 2014 - 9:26 pm

    Good thread, I agree with the pros and cons discussed concerning the use of the word, but the last one takes the cake, if they allowed those,surly they could classify it as an improper word.

  154. Mike Gregory -  January 21, 2014 - 6:57 am

    It’s a word! Better yet how about “tain’t” meaning “it ain’t” which is the license plate on my Mustang!


    I wanted an Old Muscle car but could not afford one so I ended up with a late model Mustang. “It ain’t” the car I wanted.


  155. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 21, 2014 - 5:19 am

    Oh, there it is. It wasn’t showing up…

    Minecraft rocks! :D

  156. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 21, 2014 - 5:17 am

    Where did my previous comment go?

  157. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 21, 2014 - 5:11 am

    Take a look at Dictionary.com’s definition of “word.” You will find that it is “a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning” – not “a group of sounds or letters found in the Oxford Dictionary and accepted as correct by Grammar Nazis.” I don’t use the word “ain’t” much myself (for me it sounds a little bit off), but I would use it for emphasis: “I ain’t giving him a cent!” Lay off “ain’t”, people. What did it ever do to you?

  158. a person -  January 20, 2014 - 8:42 pm

    ain’t is a word because we use it in everyday speech

  159. Tom -  January 20, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    I ain’t a gonna use ain’t no more if it ain’t a word. Sometimes solecisms are fun.

  160. Vina May Bowden -  January 19, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    The word ain’t has always been a subject of bad grammar. I use it all the time and personally don’t see anything wrong with it. Some may even try to label people as being illiterate because of its usage. But the most educated and prestigious individuals use this same ain’t word in their everyday speech. And no one even dare to judge or categorize them. As far as I’m concerned there are other words that need much attention. Such as: Knife; the ‘K’ is silent so it need not be there. Mature sounds like it should be spelled ‘machur or machoor.

  161. What? -  January 19, 2014 - 2:03 pm



  162. cabeza roja -  January 19, 2014 - 4:35 am

    For the record how many new words have been added to this website this year? Even the dictionary is evolving, yet there are still those that want to judge solely based on the opinion that language shouldn’t evolve.

    Look at how the nations of England, Australia and America butcher the English language. They are three completely different dialects, each with several sub-dialects, all based on a common set of norms. Over time, they have evolved into perfectly acceptable forms of butchery, each with their own little following of right and wrong, accepted principles so to speak, and yet the world still spins. Who is to say what if proper? Opinion for the most part is overrated. Just because I have one doesn’t really mean a thing when it comes to the big picture.

    Every “thing” has a life cycle that consists of Birth, Growth, Maturation, Decline and Death. How many ancient languages are now dead? How many empires have come and gone? It ain’t over yet but the prognosis is bleak.

  163. cabeza roja -  January 19, 2014 - 3:48 am

    Who hasn’t heard about the 3 R’s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic? Pathetic use of language? You betcha, but it conveyed an idea and represented a message. I butcher the R in Spanish all the time, it is not my native tongue and takes a certain amount of finesse to do correctly. But I do my best and until I master it (if I master it) I should be given grace. Language is alive and has been evolving since its inception.

    People in general are afraid of change and since they fear it (change) they do their best to enforce rules that prevent it. Gay has not always meant homosexual but it has clearly evolved to mean something different that what was originally intended. Life is all about change, good,bad or indifferent. If you can’t evolve to meet the changes that life throws your way you die, mentally, spiritually and physically. Aint will live on long after the people who say it isn’t a word have perished. The test of time will be the judge.

  164. Kayla -  January 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

    after reading all of your comments i come to the conclusion that half of you all don’t know how to use the word “Ain’t” to be honest we learn that this word isn’t a word but in actuality it is we all somehow used this word before and i read a comment talking about improper English there isn’t a proper English because… i wonder if 49% of y’all read the comments you sent in because i know i use the word ain’t half the time in my daily language and its no way anyone can bring texting language into this matter cause when texting we can spell words as we please …

    texting language:
    there is others as well

    the word ain’t being used:

    i ain’t ready yet..(which means i’m not ready yet)

    now if you think about it we don’t need origins and all that we should just know that saying that means something its not like we making a new word up this word been used forever.

    and i know we all can voice our opinions but some opinions are just plan stupid and some be pitiful….. like at the end we need to stop and think ….

    :) thanks for reading my comment

  165. Lonna Speer -  January 18, 2014 - 9:13 am

    Words don’t just give meaning to a sentence, they tell something about the speaker, just like accents do. “Ain’t” conveys that the speaker is either uneducated or being playful.

  166. Agkcrbs -  January 17, 2014 - 1:22 am

    Good article; I wish they would give some sources of examples, because I’ve never seen ‘ an’t ‘ used and I would like to.

    ‘ Ain’t ‘ clearly belongs, as others have noted, with the first-person pronoun. Its purer, nicer-sounding form, ‘ amn’t ‘, is overly syllabic, as are ‘ willn’t ‘ and ‘ isn’t ‘ (enticing some to replace ‘ isn’t ‘ with ‘ ain’t ‘). ‘ Ain’t ‘ and its kin should be the only options for negative first-person questions other than ‘am I not’. Keeping it as unstructured slang means throwing it to the dogs, to use in any and all contexts without regard to grammatical propriety. I’ll do my part to bring it back by simply starting to use it; how about the rest of you?

    On the question of whether or not it’s a word, it was novel for a while to be reminded that everything may technically be called a word, but it’s growing tiring and tangential. We all know that’s not what somebody means when they question word-ness; they’re asking about appropriacy or acceptability.

  167. whynot -  January 16, 2014 - 7:55 am

    IF IT WASNT A WORD, we couldn’t understand it or use it…

  168. Mr Fine -  January 16, 2014 - 6:56 am

    **Typo** …dispute the idea that ‘ain’t’ is a word…

  169. Mr Fine -  January 16, 2014 - 6:52 am

    There’s a very clear observation to be made here; while many people dispute the idea that ‘ain’t’ is not a word, you overlook the fact that you have all acknowledged it by actually writing it down and pronouncing it in your heads in the process! Words are nothing more than mans’ idea and method of communication, therefore if a word is spoken and understood, then it has every right to be considered a word in every aspect. How can we truly dispute the existence or presence of something at the same time as referring to it as though it is a reality? If you can say it and pronounce it then it is a word! Let’s face facts, how many of us have heard or read words, pronounced them for ourselves and yet have no idea what it actually means? Does that mean that it isn’t a word until you’re satisfied that it is? We live to be governed and ruled and anyone that can’t accept ‘ain’t’ as a word clearly is incapable of thinking for themselves! However that’s just my opinion and I’m prepared to accept that some of you may regard it as ignorant! :)

  170. BillyJoeBob -  January 15, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    “Ain’t” actually wasn’t really an official word back then, but people use it nowadays and it makes perfect sense. It uses the same idea as “won’t” and “isn’t” and etc.

  171. ThisGuy -  January 15, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    “Ain’t” should be used as pleased. Just don’t butcher the English language with it..

  172. pitboxer -  January 15, 2014 - 9:51 am

    To me ain’t is perfectly acceptable. My mother was an English teacher for some 40 years. Born in about 1910, she got her degree from the University of Texas, and later returned for advanced degrees. She co-authored some text books for college use and was published a number of time with short stories and poetry. She said ain’t is acceptable, and that’s good enough for me. I have no college credits and barely made my way through high school, but her word on the English language is law to me.

  173. Zion -  January 14, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    I use ain’t all the time

  174. MJ -  January 14, 2014 - 1:00 pm

    No. It wasn’t supposed to be a word in the first place. But when the African-Americans came here they couldn’t say the words so they said ain’t. It’s just that ain’t is improper grammer.

  175. Lehcar -  January 13, 2014 - 6:24 pm

    Ain’t is a word categorized as slang. taylorswiftfan ain’t doesn’t cause confusion most of the time. Often, we know what the person is trying to say. It is, however, not appropriate for school or work realms where formal English is the norm. My personal opinion is that it is a word most commonly used by a certain social class at least here in the midwest. I understand it is also widely used in the South and more acceptable than it is here. Here, those who use it are looked down upon.

  176. Aleutian -  January 13, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    Okay, I bend from the view I held back in the 1900′s enough to accept that “ain’t” may be acceptable to use this far into the 21st century, but refuse to accept that “Ain’t got nuthin,” or any similar statement means the opposite of what the aggressively ignorant individual using it intends, since two negatives in succession will continue to mean one positive, now and into the ages to come.

    Like “Alaskana” above, I realize I do some things only because my father taught me to do them, and willing accept that by doing so sometimes causes me to be out of step with the the times. My Old Man always insisted that we follow the old Navy custom he learned as a Corpsman with the Marines in WWII that one should doff his lid coming into the Chow Hall, and it’s made me the odd man out in our plant’s Mess Hall for the last three decades.

    As Zero Mostel would joyfully sing, “TRADITION!…”

  177. Nimrod Coronel -  January 13, 2014 - 8:51 am

    Totally!!!! It’s very common.

  178. Josh -  January 13, 2014 - 7:31 am

    If you all don’t like the use of ‘ain’t’ because it’s “not proper”, maybe we should go back to using ‘thou’, ‘thee’, and ‘thine’ instead of ‘you’ since you all don’t want to have any improper or informal words in English. Given the amount of grammatical and literary sense that the language already lacks, ‘ain’t’ being a word is the least of its problems. I feel that the word ‘ain’t', which is a word that is commonly and widely used, is every bit as proper as other words with more shallow history and meaning such as ‘googling’ or ‘twirking’. Also Pluto has nothing to do with the English language, but it is no longer considered a planet because its size and mass is less than that of most asteroids, moons, and other space bodies.

  179. Wolfe -  January 12, 2014 - 12:55 pm

    I believe it’s a real word, but only with specific uses. If it derives from amn’t, then it should be used accordingly like so; similarly to saying “Isn’t it” and “Aren’t you,” the only equivalent for “I” is the phrase: “Aren’t I.” If ain’t should be used, then why not for the phrase it was meant for?

    “Aren’t you ready?”
    “Ain’t I ready?”

    If indeed it sounds somewhat more colloquially and like jargon, then consider it might be more preferable to saying: “Amn’t I ready.” And that’s my 90 cents. ~

  180. Just sayin' -  January 11, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    To “Some People”

    ” un logical” Keep weeping while this generation spells words correctly

  181. Nathan Black -  January 10, 2014 - 9:57 am

    I meant, of course, UNIVERSAL negative. You would think Dictionary.com would have spell check in it’s comment box.

  182. Nathan Black -  January 10, 2014 - 9:55 am

    Ain’t is a wonderful, Southern, unversal negative!

  183. Some people :( -  January 10, 2014 - 8:24 am

    some people are really un logical here. They attempt at trying to act smart, but if only they would think of what they were about to say.. I weep for this generation.

  184. Gary -  January 9, 2014 - 7:43 pm

    ain’t isn’t a word and Pluto is a planet. How can they say Pluto, which consists of ice, is not a planet and Jupiter, which consists of gas, is?

  185. Luke -  January 9, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    Ain’t is a word – just an informal one, however, because us language speakers are generally quite lazy, it probably will become far more acceptable and commonly used in the future. The grammar of it is completely sound (just a contraction) and contractions are perfectly normal features of languages: in Latin ( I know, not English) contractions are everywhere from Virgil to Tacitus, but it’s the same story in English Literature. And Virgil, Tacitus Shakespeare etc. were certainly not ‘illiterate’.

  186. Someone Irrelevent -  January 9, 2014 - 10:44 am

    Think about words in general. Random sounds made into a sort of dialect intended for the recipient to understand the message. So really, does it matter what it is as long as you understand it?

  187. Ella O'Donnell -  January 9, 2014 - 2:52 am

    To ‘A Random Texan’:

    Most of us aren’t Texans, though I am. In fact, some people don’t understand Texan either, which is nothing bad, but UNDERSTANDABLE. (Texan IS pretty awkward when thought of… spins your head sometimes, Texan or no Texan).
    Not saying I agree on either side, but the way you put your comment, it sounds like you think anyone who isn’t Texan is some kind of weirdo.

  188. Wolfe Killpack -  January 8, 2014 - 10:37 pm

    If it has a definition and is used to form a sentence, it’s a word.

    Word: noun: a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.

  189. dictionaryfreak -  January 8, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    upttighttowngirl it is a word and to you all it is a word!

  190. Jen Ferguson -  January 8, 2014 - 10:30 am

    Ain’t is of course a word. A word that has a definition. It shouldn’t (SHOULD NoT) be considered a contraction. Contractions generally combine two words. What would be the first word in the “ain’t” (A?? NoT) contraction? A word with the first two letters being “ai”? I could understand amn’t (AM NoT), before I’ll ever understand ain’t (A?? NoT). I avoid using the word ain’t solely because I consider it poor grammar. I tell my children not to use it because I don’t (DO NoT) want them to use it regularly, later in life. I feel the word is unprofessional and don’t (DO NoT) think it’s (IT iS) an appropriate word to use in a work/school atmosphere. I think it’s (IT iS) a fun word to use goofing around, but I really do think it comes of poorly when being used for anything other than goofing around.

  191. BB -  January 8, 2014 - 9:02 am

    amin’t I for am I not is commonly used in Ireland

  192. peter norton -  May 12, 2013 - 10:27 am

    it ain’t me babe!

  193. peter norton -  May 12, 2013 - 10:13 am

    In my mind bob dylan made the word ain’t an acceptable word in the English language–not corrected by spell check——he made truth more acceptable than proper etiquette and pretentiousness—-a language that is not busy being born is busy dying-right bob?

  194. Michelle Hilton -  January 12, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    Aint is a word NOW. But it was NOT a word years ago. I have been teaching my daughter not to pick up that word because it sounds terrible. It is just lazy english that has been picked up and used so much, especially in southern areas, (dont get me wrong, i love country music and i have a lot of country friends) that people decided to just make it a word. It is not a word. It sounds like very improper english. And people can disagree and say what they want but it is not a word in proper english!

  195. learn yourself -  October 8, 2012 - 6:15 am

    Ain’t isn’t an English word; it’s for the masses of illiterate idiots.

  196. Widmerpool -  October 8, 2012 - 3:53 am

    My cousins in Dublin all used to say “amn’t” – so it’s a real word. So is ‘aint’.

    After all, if ‘grammar’ is a real word, what rules can be applied that let it in but exclude ‘aint’?

    Here in Barnsley in Yorkshire you’ll also commonly hear ‘waint’ for ‘will not’ (“He waint be telt” = he won’t be told).

  197. Donna -  October 7, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    is is not proper but it is widely accepted. atleast it is better than “bootylicious” and that one’s in the dictionary.

  198. Gabby -  October 7, 2012 - 1:04 pm

    aint is a word

  199. rog -  October 7, 2012 - 10:56 am

    No – After much serious consideration, I have come to the conclusion it ain’t a real word !

  200. taylor swift fan -  October 7, 2012 - 10:37 am

    I guess it shouldnt really be a word cause it causes confision and double negatives

  201. anam -  October 7, 2012 - 5:45 am

    it is a cool word :/ but bit tricky for me :|

  202. Liam -  October 7, 2012 - 1:26 am

    “Dictionary- a malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of language and making it hard and inelastic.” – Ambrose Bierce.
    If people use a word, then it’s a real word by that grace alone. A dictionary is meant to be a record of language’s use, not a rulebook to govern it.

  203. gerard -  October 6, 2012 - 7:04 pm

    I ain’t saying.

  204. cHr15 -  October 6, 2012 - 11:55 am


  205. Daniel Shinn -  October 6, 2012 - 7:30 am

    It is slang. Perhaps it could be referred to as “slang grammar,” but it is fundamentally an element of slang, nonetheless.

    Bethany K. Dumas and Jonathan Lighter argue that an expression should be considered “true slang” if it meets at least two of the following criteria:

    1. It lowers, if temporarily, “the dignity of formal or serious speech or writing”; in other words, it is likely to be considered in those contexts a “glaring misuse of register.”

    2. Its use implies that the user is familiar with whatever is referred to, or with a group of people who are familiar with it and use the term.

    3. “It’s a taboo term in ordinary discourse with people of a higher social status or greater responsibility.”

    4. It replaces “a well-known conventional synonym”. This is done primarily to avoid discomfort caused by conventional phrases or by further elaboration.

    Dumas, Bethany K.; Lighter, Jonathan (1978). “Is Slang a Word for Linguists?”. American Speech 53 (5): 14–15

  206. Beans -  October 5, 2012 - 11:26 pm

    No I don’t think it’s a word; plus it encouraes the use of double negatives which are DEFINITELY horrible English!

  207. Patrick -  October 5, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    I just have to toss in the old saying: “It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.”

    “Ain’t” is perfectly acceptable in speech, quite common in certain dialects, but as charming as the word is, its usage in formal, written English is improper.

  208. Alex -  October 5, 2012 - 10:03 am

    Ain’t should not be a word. I doesn’t make sense grammar wise.

  209. Josh B. -  October 5, 2012 - 9:44 am

    Here’s a conundrum:

    It’s right to say declaratively “I AM not…”

    But as a question it’s “Aren’t (ARE not) I…?”

    You would think it should be “Amn’t (AM not/Ain’t) I…?”

    Bottom line: Ain’t is colloquial nowadays and considered slang–not acceptable in professional writing (at least by someone who is concerned with their reputation). In informal situations, of course it’s acceptable!

  210. Unknown -  October 5, 2012 - 9:35 am

    “Ain’t” is slang and should not be used. It just sounds horrible. I prefer to say am not because it takes almost no more effort and sounds much better.

  211. Brooke -  October 5, 2012 - 7:58 am

    Yes…. Aint should be a word! i use it every day! the only person who i know that doesnt like that word when i use it is my teacher! LET IT BE A WORD!!!!!!

  212. Debi -  October 5, 2012 - 7:48 am

    People who are denigrating the word because it isn’t a correct shortening of “am not” clearly don’t understand accents. I’m from the Deep South. As part of the accent, people pronounce “am” as “ay-um”. So “ay-n’t” would be how a Southerner with a strong accent sounds out “am not” shortened. Not sure if that’s where the sound came from originally, or if it’s from some Old English that we’ve forgotten, but it seems to stem from accents. And no accent is better than another. I visited Boston recently and my head was spinning from all of the “incorrect” speech I heard, even though it was mostly the accent affecting how words sounded.

    As far as it not being a proper shortening of a words, such as “is not” becoming “isn’t,” my 5-year-old naturally says “willn’t” instead of “won’t.” Which one is correct? I’d argue her word makes more sense than the “correct” one which changes the spelling completely, but I don’t hear anyone debating if “won’t” is a real word or not.

  213. veronica -  October 4, 2012 - 6:40 am

    yes, I do

  214. asha russell -  October 4, 2012 - 6:27 am

    aint is a word it is in the dictionary. it is just not a form of proper grammer. people use aint all the time. they should really make it a form of grammer so it can make sense to so much people why it is a word

  215. Chris -  October 4, 2012 - 3:54 am

    If you want to skip this, go to the last paragraph.

    Ain’t is one of those words that has an unwritten meaning. One will most likely not find it in a dictionary. However, ain’t is a semi-common part of speech. If ain’t were in the dictionary, it would look something like this:

    ain’t (ay`nt) [deriv. 18 cent. am't] slang antonym for ARE def. 2b, HAS def. 4, HAVE def. 7.

    So basically, look up those words and add “not” to them. And there’s the definition of ain’t. But everybody already knows this, so why bother putting it in in the first place?

    Ain’t should not be rejected as a word. Nor should the people who use it be automatically classified as rednecks/un- or under-educated people. I have a grade 12 diploma and have never failed a single subject all my life, and yet I still use “ain’t” occasionally.
    That said, ain’t should not be accepted as a word that needs or deserves a ‘proper’ definition, either. It certainly will not do one well if used in an application for anything, whether for a job or for unemployment comesation, or something completely different.

    In the buisness world, ain’t is unrecommended. But in the social world, it may not be recommended, but is definitely allowed, and thus ought to be at least tolerated.

    So is ain’t a real word? Is it worthy of acceptance into common speech? It depends upon what area of the world one comes from, what one’s family life is or was like, and what is commonly accepted within one’s social circle. There are many others, but these three are, in my opinion, the three largest deciding factors.

    Thank you for taking the time to hear my thoughts.

    P.S. The definition was something I came up with.

  216. MattheW -  October 3, 2012 - 7:59 pm

    Sorry if this comment has already been posted (my search function doesn’t seem to be working for the comments): the title of this post refers to “am’nt,” which doesn’t show up in the text. Should the title, like one of the contractions in the text, be “amn’t?” If not, are the two functionally equivalent? If so, the hot word author if you are reading this please edit the post title.

  217. Mike -  October 3, 2012 - 5:47 pm

    Ummmmmmmm, who cares?? I hate it when ain’t ain’t considered good english, but I really could care less. If it were up to me, I definitely make ain’t a word, though. This proves that ain’t just gangsta slang once and for all!!!

  218. Savvy -  October 3, 2012 - 2:02 pm

    I think aint can be a word! I am NOT the best with typing grammar i think if it is understood, it can be a word! Exept for when you say “aint aint a word and i aint gonna say it!”. Its just kinda weird when people do that but i have a friend that says it ALL THE TIME. I think it should be accepted even if a few people disagree. The majority of people agree that this is a word. So America shouldnt just NOT say the word is a real word just because a couple hundred out of like 1 million say that aint, aint (haha) a word.

  219. enid wagstrom -  October 3, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    Ain’t is not an acceptable word when using proper English. It is used “commonly” by people with poor education and lazy in speech. However, improper usage of the language is getting more and more frequent even in formal communication. It seems no one knows how to write correctly any more. One of my pet peeves is using “their” and “them” singularly, to indicate the unknown gender of an individual. Another example is using “went” instead of “gone”. It all drives me crazy.

  220. Daniel Johnson -  October 3, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    Ain’t ain’t a word so i ain”t gunna use the word ain’t no more

  221. xx -  October 3, 2012 - 10:00 am

    I have a rather developed English vocabulary and employ its varied treasures with gay abandon in my essays and diatribes. In my view ain’t is indeed a word – a useful and more rational word, in fact than the several words it replaces, with a perfect symmetry semantic function. The only hangup with “ain’t” is that it has been coded as a word which, when used in professional, formal or uppity contexts, is meant to exclude between the entitled and those without privilege. Therefore, we should make a conscious effort to normalize it in formal and professional writing and speech. There are many recently invented words and phrases (within the last century) that are regularly incorporated into these domains of discourse, so why not a true old timer like ain’t? It is elegant, functional, practical and worthy of broad dissemination.

  222. KeithA -  October 3, 2012 - 8:43 am

    We should stop fighting it. There are new words being accepted into the English language constantly, and keeping “ain’t” out all this time, well, it ain’t right…
    Vulgar words like the “F” word (and many others) have been accepted; keeping “ain’t” out seems over-the-top fanatical.
    The word is out there, it’s been used for 100+ years, and it’s still in use today. Really, let’s accept it and move on.
    Hey, know what? If we accept it, and leave it alone, and stop incessantly evangelizing against it, maybe it will just go away on it’s own.
    And ain’t nobody would care anymore!

  223. Haylee Merritt -  October 3, 2012 - 6:51 am

    Ain’t is NOT a word. It sounds completely illiterate.

  224. Dave A. -  October 3, 2012 - 12:08 am

    I say it’s a word because when I say it people know exactly what I’m saying. but there is a proper place and time to use it and there ain’t no time like the present. LOL. My wife and I have been going back and forth on this for years, she corporate stuffed suits and I’m blue collar but she says I clean up good. Have fun and use good words

  225. Loz Zie -  October 2, 2012 - 11:32 pm

    The only time I hear this word used is when people are trying to sound like a bogan or hick.

  226. Lana -  October 2, 2012 - 9:51 pm

    Wow…a lot of discussion on one lil word. Yes, ain’t is a word its in the dictionary…and has been for over 40 years…even before Webster’s listed its real meaning (being a contraction for am not) it said it is an “improper word” – so therefore it is a word. My Daddy told me to go look it up because he said it wasn’t a word….when I found it, he had to back track and let me use it. Several people have made very good comments here on both sides of the argument, but as for “proper” or “professional” usage it falls into the same category as other contractions. My high school English teacher gave very strict instructions for our Senior thesis paper: NO CONTRACTIONS!

  227. Raechel -  October 2, 2012 - 7:53 pm

    The word ‘ain’t’ is a perfectly valid word. It is in the same way some people use gay for its current meaning rather than for happy. It doesn’t matter. The way I see it, we should shut up about it, and get on with our lives.

  228. Gene -  October 2, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    My dad was an English major and teacher and saying ain’t was a good way to get to miss dinner at our house, long ago. I’ve always been a little more relaxed about it myself. One thing’s for sure – whoever has been holding ‘ain’t’ back from being a word sure better brace up ’cause with all this ‘net and texting stuff that’s coming down the pike whatever justification has been used to keep ‘ain’t’ out isn’t going to hold up much longer against the flow of all the vulgarizing coming our way.

  229. Imani -  October 2, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    I don’t think it’s should be a word I’m home schooled and my mom doesn’t teach me ain’t in grammer

  230. marls -  October 2, 2012 - 2:32 pm

    My mom raised me not to say ain’t so i think of it as not a word eventhough it is in dictionaries doesn’t make it grammaticly correct!!! :)

  231. Kevin JJ -  October 2, 2012 - 11:15 am

    Ain’t is a word and you ain’t gonna stop the hating on the “ain’t”ing!

  232. Micah -  October 2, 2012 - 9:35 am

    I’m sure “ain’t” could qualify as a word, but I wouldn’t use it. There are a lot of negative stereotypes associated with people who use “ain’t” frequently. People assume they are uneducated rednecks. I believe the way someone speaks and the words they choose to use says a lot about a person and can have a drastic effect as to how others view them. If you want to be taken seriously, especially by people who are highly educated, then I would suggest paying attention to the words you use.

  233. Vince -  October 2, 2012 - 9:32 am

    The goal in verbal communication is to be understood. All else does not matter…

  234. Rick -  October 2, 2012 - 7:17 am

    Of course it is a word! But that doesn’t mean I must use it. Starting the previous sentence with “But” was formerly unacceptable grammar in North American English, but often done today. Any language that is not changing is probably dying. Grin and bear it!

  235. Nancy -  October 2, 2012 - 7:05 am

    NO! It’s just bad. People sound stupid when they use it.

  236. Girlie Azarias -  October 2, 2012 - 3:16 am

    “ain’t” is most oftenly used improperly. I guess if we use it as contraction of “am not” then I think it’s alright. but if we use it as contraction of is not, are not, have not, has not then that’s I think it is wrong..

  237. donnie lassiter -  October 2, 2012 - 3:05 am

    Ain’t it a shame, every one who posted a comment understands what ain’t means and it’s definition, and still there are those that say it ain’t a word. Ain’t Any Part of Language that allows one to state a understandable use in communicating with another, considered a word, or a part of some ones speach? Ergo; a word is a Word ain’t it?

  238. RP -  October 1, 2012 - 4:57 pm

    People who claim that ain’t is a sign of bad English have wedged their heads too far up their rears. What makes a word a word, anyway? At its core, language is a means through which we can communicate with our fellow humans. Any native English speaker will understand perfectly well what ain’t means (with context). Just because a word’s roots are buried within the backyards of the uneducated (I think), why should we discount its credibility? It’s just a word!

  239. Justin Thought -  October 1, 2012 - 2:23 pm

    All through my schooling, I repeatedly heard the phrase “Ain’t ain’t a word!”

    But we have to keep in mind, English ain’t a static language. It’s changing all the time, picking up idioms and usage from the people. “Far out” used to mean a long way away. “Cool” indicated it was time to put on a coat–or at least a sweater.

    If we refused to accept changes to the language, we’d all be talking like Shakespeare–and since I never was able to understand THAT man’s language, I’d be out of luck!

    I ain’t opposed to “ain’t” being accepted in common usage.

  240. Che Joubert -  October 1, 2012 - 11:37 am

    According to David Hacket Fishcher, writing in ‘Albion’s Seed’ – ‘Four British Folkways in America’, the word ‘ain’t comes from the speech patterns of people ‘even of high rank’ who settled in Virginia in the 1600′s. He states that where a northerner said, ‘I am’, ‘you are’, ‘she isn’t', the people of Virginia would say, ‘I be’, ‘you be’, ‘she ain’t’. This language came from the displaced second sons of royalty, who notoriously came to the young country of America to establish their own estates in Virginia, bringing with them many indentured servants.

    Over time only the servant class and slave class retained this language. In addition, many other traits and folkways of royalty were retained, mostly by the slave class, such as speaking from lower in the throat, living in extended communities with many families mixed together, ‘jumping the broom’ to signify marriage, and engaging in colorful outgoing behavior mostly eschewed by the quakers and puritans of the north. Blacks to this day retain almost a time capsule of seventeenth century London/Southeastern British culture, which makes their culture not African, but in essence a missing white culture.

  241. okey proctor -  October 1, 2012 - 8:57 am

    Well, strictly speaking, since we all use it as a word, and understand it as a word, it is de facto, a word! However, I like the associated understanding that there are times it is acceptable speech and times it just………….ain’t. :-)

  242. Dawn -  October 1, 2012 - 8:22 am

    I think just because it is used frequently doesn’t stand as a valid argument. Like people who write “should of” which is suppose to be “should have” but we run the sounds together when we speak. We even say things like: shoulda coulda woulda, but just as phrases, we would never write it out that way on a resume or term paper. I grew up hearing “Ain’t ain’t a word.” I don’t see it going away, but I don’t see it becoming socially accepted as good grammar.

  243. andrea -  October 1, 2012 - 6:22 am

    “ain’t” is part of the english language history … lots of people are using it … so be it … tell you what … the english language is like a person who’s lived for so many years … this strange guy’s gone through a lot … today it’s the result of its past and all changes up to now … like any guy it’s far from perfect … and therefore human and absolutely fascinating ! that’s what i think … and in my opinion that’s what make the english language so brilliant … and don’t get me started talking about pronunciation … so freaking interesting in all its variables and all … wow !!!

  244. Vishakha Ranawat -  September 30, 2012 - 11:36 pm

    i think its cool using it…i often use it very casually. There are lots more words which are disputed as “ain’t” factor n most importantly people accept it on its usage:)

  245. uptighttowngirl93 -  September 30, 2012 - 8:32 pm

    I am an uptight towns girl and my mother always dabbles on me about using the word ain’t ! WHATS THE BID DEAL ? please comment below !?

  246. Nate -  September 30, 2012 - 7:49 pm

    Ya, ain’t is word.

  247. Thomas Keach -  September 30, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    I was taught in both elementary and high school that “ain’t” is slang and not acceptable to educated people. That said, it has become so common today that I no longer worry about correcting people who use it. However, I still don’t and won’t use the word unless I making a point. But then, I’m 70 and perhaps out of touch. lol

  248. Darwin Kern -  September 30, 2012 - 2:27 pm

    “ain’ t” is a word deal with it people

  249. Tom Train -  September 30, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    Ain’t ain’t gonna go ‘way…

  250. Marina Bekaldi -  September 30, 2012 - 10:25 am

    People have short memory and tend to forget the history. The same debate about the right to call Spanish, Portuguese or Italian a LANGUAGE took place several hundreds of years ago. They were banned and considered local dialects of conquered slaves, “bad” or low class Latin and deserved many other denigrating epithets. Look at them now. Roman LANGUAGES with their own rules and dictionaries. Lenguage is like water, it will always find its way beween rocks, no matter how hard you try to stop it.
    People create lenguages to express their thoughts, they use it, therefore it should be included in the dictionary with an appropriate note (slang or informal, etc.) . If it serves well, it gained its right to be there. Remember: I think, it means I exist.? Let´s apply this direct realtionship to AIN´T. It exists, because one needs it to think.
    Any living thing evolves with time and adapts to new conditions. And what once could be considered irregular, when used regularily becomes a new rule. No doubt, we are witnessing a process of English Language evolution.

  251. charli -  September 30, 2012 - 7:37 am

    Yes, ain’t is a word in that it conveys a meaning and communicates to another person. Is it proper English–NO?
    but neither is internet, blog, labradoodle, gonna, cuz, or any other number of made up words or smooshed together words…. but went someone speaks those words, I completely understand what they mean.

    So, yes ‘ain’t’ is a word.

  252. Ed H. -  September 29, 2012 - 8:20 pm

    I’ve always understood that “ain’t” was originally a contraction for “am not”. I never knew about its sibling “amn’t,” which doesn’t flow off the tongue like “ain’t” does. So the transition from “amn’t” to “ain’t” would be understandable.

    We have other contractions which follow similar convenience of pronunciation: “shan’t” instead of “shalln’t,” “won’t” instead of “willn’t,” et al. So exactly when, how and why did “ain’t” become unfashionable to use and equated with intellectual frailty?

    It really irritates me everytime someone asks “aren’t I?”. Do they not realize that, in statement form, that would be the same as saying “I are not”? “Ain’t I”–and “am I not”–would make considerably more sense, and “Aren’t I” should be the language frowned upon by the lofty intelligencia, not “ain’t.”

    Take back “ain’t,” people. The societal elite have convinced us for too long that it’s not a proper word, when historically it is.

  253. Brother Daniel -  September 29, 2012 - 8:24 am

    If it derives from the 18th century contraction, then how does Shakespeare use it two centuries earlier?
    As a contraction it is much more comfortable than amn’t, However, all contractions are slang and to be avoided in written English. In speech, when in Rome, do as the Romans.

  254. Michelle -  September 29, 2012 - 8:02 am

    No. I never use it, unless I’m pretending to sound ignorant or dumb. We need to stop catering to the dumb! Ain’t shouldn’t be acceptable. It isn’t acceptable in my dialect.

  255. Dale Barnes -  September 29, 2012 - 7:03 am

    I have seen “ain’t” in dictionaries. It is a word, because people use it; however, it is a non-standard word.

  256. Judith -  September 29, 2012 - 6:27 am

    I’m 78 years old. When was young (admittedly a long time ago) we were taught that ain’t was perfectly acceptable if we were speaking Swedish, but if we were speaking English, our teachers would appreciate a more formal word.

  257. Ain't -  September 29, 2012 - 12:30 am

    Ain’t should be added

  258. Carol Ann -  September 28, 2012 - 8:26 am

    Could it be the most talked about word? Why ruin its reputation? If you’re writing a formal paper, like other contractions, don’t use it. If you want to write, as some people speak, you’ll have to use it. So LET IT BE! When I was a student (in the 60′s and 70′s) I loved to watch my English teachers get into a lather over it, so why take that experience away from the future generations? It’s fun and kids learn what is proper in formal papers because of it. (I’m a teacher.)

  259. N -  September 28, 2012 - 8:12 am

    It ain’t proper, but it ain’t wrong :)

  260. Carol Ann -  September 28, 2012 - 8:12 am

    DO NOT FIX THIS PROBLEM! It would stop being such a special topic for discussion!

  261. Alex Payne -  September 27, 2012 - 10:22 pm

    It was fashionable to use ain’t pre the Bard (he used it) and it went out of fashion by the toffs! Nothing wrong with it just considered low brow!

  262. tindog13 -  September 27, 2012 - 4:16 pm

    Just because a word is widely used is a poor reason to make it acceptable, it’s a better answer to learn the correct word to convey the intended meaning. I feel it is a mistake to allow the authorization of words based solely on usage.. now, if it actually makes more sense or conveys a thought more correctly in the colloquial form, that’s different and a case could be made for acceptance. Language should be fluid… but not a hodge-podge born out of a lack of education, laziness or stubbornness.

  263. ginnie -  September 27, 2012 - 1:56 pm

    I don’t use the slang ain’t at all, but I do believe it should be a word, because a lot of people say it all the time. And it’s the people that say any word should be a word, so if people say ain’t is a word, then it is.

  264. Toby -  September 27, 2012 - 10:24 am

    If “Ginormous” got a place in the dictionary. (which is a mixture of gigantic/giant+enormous)
    Then I say “Ain’t” should have a place there too. Language develops however it wants to.
    William Shakespeare made up a heck of a lot of words in his writing. 1700 is what I hear is a common estimate.
    Language is the art of conveying feelings verbally. If you can understand someone, however archaic it may seem to some, it’s still language.

  265. Rob -  September 26, 2012 - 8:23 pm

    Simply, when used for emphasis–or to make a point–it’s teetotally acceptable. I also use the word ‘dasn’t’ occasionally–Old School for ‘dare not’–as ‘I dasn’t tell him.’

  266. anony -  September 26, 2012 - 6:09 pm

    ain’t is a word we use when speaking informally. I agree with most people that this word is acceptable in some settings and contexts, and not accepted in others.

    the dictionary does already list many colloquially used words – therefore ain’t definitley (in my opinion) deserves a place in one. Perhaps specify that it is informal, and that a lot of people generally use it in speech but not in text?

  267. Jasmine -  September 26, 2012 - 1:41 pm

    I believe it should be categorized as a slang term only because it is usually used as a replacement for is not.

    This situation “ain’t” very good.
    Instead of:
    This situation “is not” (isn’t) very good.

    It isn’t grammatically correct in a sense because it wouldn’t apply as a proper abbreviation context but most “slang” isn’t anyways so, slang it is.

  268. Lolly Rae -  September 26, 2012 - 12:33 pm


  269. Evan C. -  September 26, 2012 - 10:45 am

    I would categorize “ain’t” as the transcription of a dialectal pronunciation, rather than an actual proper English word. I wouldn’t call it slang, because the non-standard part of it isn’t the meaning, it’s the sound. The reason it has such a strong regional or, some would say, class-based association, is because it is in fact the transcription of a sound that is highly regional in nature.

    My process for reaching that conclusion is as follows:

    “Ain’t” doesn’t appear to me to follow the rules for a contraction, where an apostrophe is inserted to replace dropped letters.

    Isn’t: Is Not
    Hasn’t: Has Not
    Amn’t: Am Not
    Ain’t: Ai Not?

    At best, “Ain’t” is missing additional apostrophes to indicate additional dropped letters. A word can have multiple apostrophes and remain valid; for example, the nautical terms fo’c's’le and bo’s'n are acceptable foreshortenings of fo(re)c(a)s(t)le and bo(at)s(wai)n.

    The particularly telling thing about “ain’t” in my mind is that in some cases, it actually adds a non-existent letter (the I) to an expression. While “are not” and “am not” could become “a’n't,” and “has not” or “have not” could become “ha’n't,” there is no I present in those phrases, as there is in “ain’t” or “hain’t.” It is the effort to capture the particular sound of a’n't when spoken in certain regions that seems to have resulted in the modern spelling of ain’t.

  270. Jetfly -  September 26, 2012 - 7:29 am

    There ain’t anything wrong with using ain’t, unless its used incorrectly such as “There ain’t nothing wrong with using ain’t.” Double negatives seem to be more of a problem. I found the discussion of amn’t interesting, but it doesn’t seem to have the same impact as saying ain’t. Proper English, colloquialism, grammatically correct, uncultured, lazy, inconsiderate people, etc. aside, we will always hear ain’t being used.

    Perhaps the correct phrase should be “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” instead of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Perhaps so, but the latter sounds much better, so I ain’t going to change how I say it.

    Texting language is even more confusing and it’s use seems to be moving more into the mainstream of language. I ain’t never gonna git all of that!

  271. RUSTY -  September 26, 2012 - 5:56 am

    Ain’t ain’t a word, so ain’t ain’t in the dictionary.

  272. Brutus Blue -  September 26, 2012 - 3:31 am

    It’s an incredibly valuable way to communicate. If for no other reason than to annoy eager grammarians.

    Everybody knows what it means in all its forms. What more could you ask for a grouping of letters? Huck Finn understood it over a hundred years ago. We’ll catch up some day.

  273. Sara -  September 25, 2012 - 5:27 pm

    Okay, ain’t doesn’t even come up on most spell checks now it’s that widely used. I use it all the time, but when it’s appropriate. Not during an interview, that’s one place you do not use “ain’t”. It’s a word. Leave it at that.

  274. Jafa -  September 25, 2012 - 2:39 pm

    English is a living language so, if people use and gain meaning from a word, it’s a word. I don’t use it myself but it is very effective used to show redneck or yokel speech. That one word sets a scene very effectively.

  275. rcvertucio -  September 25, 2012 - 1:52 pm

    I always thought “ain’t” is spoken by uneducated person. it is a slang word, i thought. My personal opinion.

  276. sharon marie -  September 25, 2012 - 11:16 am

    There’s a time and a place for “ain’t” as a colloquialism. I look at it as a sentence enhancer.

  277. CanAnybodyFindMe -  September 25, 2012 - 10:26 am

    If the connections to am’nt, bain’t, etc were grammatically correct before, I don’t see why ain’t shouldn’t be accepted now. Granted, it DOES sound ‘lower class’ if you will, but it sounds legit enough to me.

    Just my opinion, as always.

  278. matty -  September 24, 2012 - 12:08 pm

    ain’t: yet another example of “popular usage” ruining our vocabulary. just because lots of people are too ignorant to learn the right word for something doesn’t mean we should just let it go and accept the incorrect word. besides, it sounds uncultured.

    it’s like saying, well everyone ignores speed limit signs and speeds anyway, regardless of how many moving violations police hand out, so let’s just let them do it. it’s popular usage of our highway system.

  279. Alaskana -  September 24, 2012 - 10:55 am

    I feel “ain’t” ought not be used for the following reason:

    The contraction contains letters not in the original words (am not). In uddah woids, it does not contain an “m” but does contain an “i”. Ergo it is illogical no matter when it was ‘invented’.

    By the way, I was not aware that the quoted expressions contained the colloquial. I learned ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, or, ‘say it isn’t so, Joe’.

    Our feelings on matters such as this definitely stem from how we are raised. My father taught is to absolutely never use that term. Of course, he would teasingly say, “It ain’t right to use aint’, ain’t I done told you.” That was his special patois, and it was never uttered in our house otherwise.

    So no, the dictionary need not make a concession in this regard.

    Many thanks,


  280. 7kud -  September 24, 2012 - 10:04 am

    Ugh, If it is considered a word, i’ll add it to the list of words I won’t say. I really do hate that word. It’s real history is a matter of lazy, and inconsiderate people who needed something quicker to say rather then “is not” or “aren’t”. It’s a twist on the dignified English language and I think it should remain as such. Not to be represented honorably as a real word in our dictionaries. It was spawned by laziness and ignorance. Why give those people the satisfaction, it’ll just promote more laziness and ignorance.

  281. Wade Yoder -  September 24, 2012 - 9:13 am

    Ain’t is absolutely a word. No questions.

  282. BungoBill -  September 24, 2012 - 7:00 am

    If you are a writer then I believe ‘ain’t’ can and should be used in dialogue, but in prose I think it should be considered ‘bad’ English and, therefore, not to be used.

    But English is a living language and should be allowed to breathe. I dare say the denouncing of the usage of the word ‘ain’t’ could be thought of in some circles as a form of censorship. Do we really want censorship of our written and spoken word?

  283. Hamachisn't -  September 23, 2012 - 9:43 pm

    When I was in school we were taught with no ifs, ands, or buts, that “ain’t” is not a proper word, yet people continue to use it to this day. On the other hand, these days dictionaries list it as a word, as dictionaries are used to document the current state of the language and, since it IS in use (properly or otherwise), it should be documented. Does that make it a proper word? As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on that, and may well be for another 100 years or more. It doesn’t matter. Aside from the common sentences listed in this article, I almost never use the word (except for my own personal variant of one of those sentences: “Don’t fix what ain’t broke.”) I just don’t need it. I can say whatever I want to say using a preferred choice of words.

  284. John -  September 23, 2012 - 8:59 pm

    Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  285. WhoDall -  September 23, 2012 - 12:13 pm

    Did Samuel Clemens use it? If not, it ain’t a word.

  286. Julia -  September 23, 2012 - 11:40 am

    I feel as though ain’t could be thought of as a word in certain contexts, but in others it’s just … not correct, or at least it feels that way to me. For example, “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. Maybe it’s just me, but the double-negatives thing feels wrong: in English, aren’t double negatives supposed to cancel each other out? Generally, “ain’t” is slang… however, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a word.

  287. Ted -  September 22, 2012 - 3:35 am

    I b’aint too sure about a’int but I don’t like to pontificate.

  288. Baylo54 -  September 21, 2012 - 11:37 am

    So maybe there is an argument that ‘ain’t” ain’t a word but bulls@it is? Does any one that is a fad too.

  289. mistyee -  September 21, 2012 - 9:40 am

    Using the word “Ain’t” sound low class and ghetto even though the word is commonly used

  290. Sonya -  September 20, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    I’m the smartass who has the English teacher who says “If it isn’t in the dictionary then it is not a word” and “Ain’t is not a word.” Goes to the dictionary and reads the definition entire to the class.

  291. thePersonWhoCommented -  September 20, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    Ain’t ain’t a word! At least, we ain’t usin it in our dialect.

  292. Constance -  September 20, 2012 - 10:15 am

    Although I do use the word “aint”, especially to give my words a punch but I never utter it without misgivings.

  293. RB -  September 20, 2012 - 8:38 am

    For me, ‘ain’t’ sounds clumsy but perhaps that is due to the common misuse of the double negative (I ain’t going to read no book!) which has given it a bad name. However I find that amn’t – which is used in Scotland is a word which makes a lot more sense – (I amn’t going to shoot a man!) – amn’t being a word which can be split into ‘am not’. And it is definitely more correct than ‘are’nt’ – a word used commonly in England, which, if split up makes ‘are not’ (I are not going read a book) which is incorrect for sure. I suppose it depends where you are and where you’ve come from – culture has a big influence on the type of person you are.

  294. Tea In McUp -  September 20, 2012 - 5:55 am

    Yeah its a word

  295. Nancy Jo -  September 20, 2012 - 4:08 am

    I was brought up believing that ain’t is incorrect. I was also brought up believing that it was proper for the want ads to list separately jobs for men and women, with the women’s pay a fraction of the men’s. Also that hemlines had to be raised and lowered based on what’s “in” this year. At the age of 71, I have spent a lot of years unwinding a whole slew of crap from my psyche. And I’m still not done! Why should I be strangled by all the shoulds and shouldn’ts? !!!

  296. Claire -  September 19, 2012 - 6:32 pm

    I would prefer not to hear it. Though I know it is used more regionally within the U.S., it is definitely bad grammar and signifies the status of the user. I have not heard educated people use the word and I was taught often enough that it is not a real word and is considered poor grammar. What comes out of your mouth really says who you are.

  297. Hailey -  September 19, 2012 - 4:22 pm

    Ain’t is a word and I’ll keep using it Until I AIN’T breathing no more ! i Thank its hilarious that ya’ll argue over somethin’ so stupid , and just cause we say ain’t or use improper grammer don’t mean were rednecks!!!!!!!!! Lord Have Mercy ! Ya’ll just shut your city talking mouths UP !

  298. Sarah P -  September 19, 2012 - 1:02 pm

    The majority of the people who have left a comment agreeing that ‘ain’t’ should be considered a real word have made many spelling/grammatical errors in these comments. I just thought I should point that out.

    AIN’T IS NOT A WORD. It is a colloquialism which, although very commonly used, is not part of the English language. Though we may have accepted its use, it is not recognized as a formal word and should not be. If a student used this “word” consistently in an English exam in place of the correct vocabulary such as ‘is not’ and ‘has not’, the examiner would probably attempt to turn up on their doorstep in order to laugh in their face. Also, any foreign citizens learning the English language will be completely baffled by this slang word, and would not recognize is as part of the language that they are trying to learn.

    It is fairly simple to use isn’t, aren’t, am not and any other word which ‘ain’t’ is supposed to represent.


  299. Andrew -  September 19, 2012 - 1:01 pm

    I think that at least amn’t should be a word. it’s technically a correct contraction, right? as for ain’t, that’s a tougher one to decide. It’s common but I think it’s still slang. I mean, where did the ai come from? I understand that the n’t is not (obviously) but ai? What the heck? I don’t think ain’t is a real word but amn’t should be.

  300. MJ -  September 19, 2012 - 6:41 am

    I love the word ain’t! Of course, it’s not correct grammar, but it is a part of our English language and can certainly be used in everyday speech. Our words represent and reflect our culture and add local color, character and variety. How boring it would be if everyone spoke with the exact same accent and choice of words. It works both ways. Wouldn’t it also be great to hear people use a greater variety of ” fancy” words, rather than the overused common sort?
    Yes, ain’t is a word and I enjoy hearing it!

  301. A M -  September 19, 2012 - 4:02 am

    I live in a rural, northern, U.S. state. I never hear “ain’t” used in conversation. Ever. No one but no one says it. So many of the comments here have mentioned how commonly it’s used that I’m just wondering where all of these “ain’t”-using people are. I’m serious; where are they?

  302. Christian Delgado -  September 18, 2012 - 8:40 pm

    I believe that if people are speaking English, it should always be proper English. “Ain’t” is not a word, therefore it should not be treated as such.

  303. James -  September 18, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    Are there any dictionaries in print that list “ain’t” as anything other than slang? What’s all this fuss about? Last I checked, that word was listed as slang which should satisfy all involved – it’s both accepted as a word yet considered to be an improper contraction. Look at it as more of a quirk of the English language, which is both structured and malleable. We have proper grammar & spelling and improper/incorrect grammar & spelling, especially in this digital age, for examples of this. Besides, everyone knows proper spelling is far more important than proper grammar!

  304. Mike D -  September 18, 2012 - 3:56 pm

    “Ain’t” is absolutely a real word. If you go up to the search box and type in “word”, you will find the primary definition of “word” begins:

    “a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.”

    Now, personally- I’m not a big fan of the word. I rarely use it. But I simply can’t argue the fact that “ain’t” can be spoken or written and it certainly carries meaning. It’s being used all over the place on this page. It’s being used by people arguing that “ain’t” isn’t a word! In fact- they would have absolutely no case without it. And, of course, those claiming “ain’t” isn’t a word prove themselves wrong the instant they use it.. (which they must).

    So, “ain’t” is certainly a word in the strictest sense of the word “word”. I think the real argument over “ain’t” is whether or not it’s a “proper” word- or whether it’s “proper” English. And that’s an argument I ain’t gonna get involved in.

  305. Chea -  September 18, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    I wouldn’t go out of my way to correct someone for using it (I’m from the south US, so it’d be an uphill battle if I tried). However, I personally feel like if you can exchange the proposed “non-word” for something that’s more universally proper then it confines the word to being a colloquialism. In every single sentence mentioned in this blog, I can suggest a better, more correct contraction.

    • “If it ain’t (isn’t) broke(n)…”

    • “You ain’t (haven’t) heard…”

    And so on…

    I feel like maybe I should be too young to care either way, but I don’t think I’ll ever look at ‘ain’t’ as a word.

  306. blue pen -  September 18, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    if “lol” can be a word, “ain’t” should be 2

  307. Paula -  September 18, 2012 - 12:43 pm

    I hate to be picky, but you are the dictionary. Your example of a use of ain’t to mean “do not,” “does not,” or “did not”–”We ain’t got any milk left.”–is wrong. It would translate to: “We do not got any milk left.” Last I checked, that’s not standard English.

  308. Tom O -  September 18, 2012 - 10:35 am

    Allow me to be the devil’s advocate…..

    “Ain’t” has never been a real word and is normally associated with poorly educated people, but perhaps we should embrace it nevertheless. It’s very efficient in substituting for so many different contractions without ever inhibiting comprehension.

    Why not consolidate all the other contractions into just “ain’t” and make our lives easier? After all, the main point of language is to communicate and understand one another. If we can perfectly understand each other while using “ain’t” instead of numerous other contractions, we should do it.

    No matter how stupid I thought the person was, I’ve never had a problem understanding someone using sentences with “ain’t” in them.

    For all those who say no, I challenge you to produce the rule which states that we must indefinitely maintain numerous contractions and keep English needlessly complicated vs. become more efficient with just one very versatile colloqiualism that simply needs a status change.

    Sometimes some of the smartest things can come from the most poorly educated in society whether by design or not!

  309. Ansel K. -  September 18, 2012 - 9:08 am

    I suppose to those who do not intend to use proper English then it is a word to them. However, to the learned and those desiring to use proper English the “ain’t” is not a word that would be used in a professional manner; such as writing a business letter or legal letters. In my area, forensic traffic crash reconstruction, that word does not exist. I

  310. Terrell -  September 18, 2012 - 8:10 am

    Substandard and invalid are not necessarily the same thing. As “ain’t” clearly communicates meaning, it is valid. However, it is certainly not standard English. I can agree with Larry Knisley that its use can lend the undesirable impression of a lack of education, but the word he was looking for is “its” (plural), not “it’s” (contraction). I must confess to using “ain’t” — but I would NEVER do so in any correspondence that I would expect to be seriously considered.

  311. Keith George -  September 18, 2012 - 7:33 am

    I have a vague sense of shame, overusing ain’t. But sometimes it’s just the right word. I titled a 2010 novel, and an earlier song: Maybe This Ain’t Heaven.

  312. Zoria -  September 17, 2012 - 8:02 pm

    As an English teacher ain’t is fine in spoken as well as written language.

  313. Bananadogs5 -  September 17, 2012 - 5:06 pm

    The one constant thing about language is that it is always changing. What is accepted today as a “word” may not have even been thought of 50 years ago, or may have been used but in a different form. For instance: when I was little, and someone was having a party, we received an “invitation.” Today we get an “invite” over the computer. “Invite” used to be a verb, now it is a noun. Email is another modern word – I doubt anyone used it 50 years ago, but today it is a mainstay of our everyday conversations, whether face to face or electronic. And per Thelma Lightspeed’s comment above: How long does a word have to be used before it becomes a word?! Very well spoken Ms. Lightspeed!

  314. Sylvia Sun -  September 17, 2012 - 1:16 pm

    I study the English language in Peru and I’ve been told by all my teachers not to use “ain’t” because it’s not a real word. If it has to be cathegorized, it must be considered an informal contraction used among peers in informal situations. But what is “innit”? It’s a real surprise to come across this word. Does it mean “isn’t it”? Please answer me.

  315. Malik Conn -  September 17, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    Yah, it should definitely be considered a word. We use it so often that for many it’s natural, so who can tell us that it’s not a word?

  316. Ramesh M -  September 17, 2012 - 6:04 am

    I recently noticed this word routinely used in the conversation in the movies. but this much explanation very much appreciable and it’s very easier to use

  317. Larry Knisley -  September 16, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    Using the word is the easiest way to let others know you skipped English class a lot. The more you use it and endorse it’s use, the less formally educated you seem.

  318. ShayLee Caldwell -  September 16, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    Ain’t is a word that I use often! :] #southerntalk

  319. Stephanie♥ -  September 16, 2012 - 3:31 pm

    I don’t really think it’s a proper English word. I think of it as more of a slang.

  320. Francis Dudley -  September 16, 2012 - 11:42 am

    I was taught that good English usage is determined by the acknowledged good writers of the day, for written English, and the acknowledged good speakers of the day for the spoken language. The opinion of “most people” is unreliable because they do not agree with each other. Just ask several acquaintances what they think is the meaning of the word livid; then look it up in a dictionary.

  321. Scotty -  September 16, 2012 - 4:08 am

    The word ain’t was drawn from the town Ain’t, AR.

  322. Thelma Lightspeed -  September 16, 2012 - 1:58 am

    How long does a word have to used as a word til it becomes a word?

  323. Dustin Goujon -  September 15, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    If the term “bootylicious” can make it into the Oxford dictionary, I see no reason why “ain’t” cannot achieve word-hood.

  324. Rayni -  September 15, 2012 - 7:44 pm

    I know all my English teachers, professors, and English-loving sisters hate “ain’t”, but in my honest opinion a word that is so widely used –just as much if not more than “Y’all”– and has existed in common speech for 100+ years should definitely be enacted as an official word. Besides that’s how most words of modern day English became words itself. Especially if you consider “text language” such as “LOL:lol and g2g:G2G” as part of an “official” language.

  325. Jordan Breier -  September 15, 2012 - 2:40 pm

    Yes it should cuz its widely used

  326. Kelly -  September 15, 2012 - 7:51 am

    It ain’t a word!

  327. Bryan Fotino -  September 15, 2012 - 7:00 am

    Well, I do not consider contractions such as “it’s” and “don’t” to be real words, so I would not like to see “ain’t” as a real word.

  328. Kathy -  September 14, 2012 - 8:26 pm

    BTW, I apologize for the slip of the finger in spelling the word ‘mean’. It came out as ‘meant’. I do know the difference even if my typing fingers aren’t as careful as they should be.

  329. Kathy -  September 14, 2012 - 8:25 pm

    Just because it has fallen into disuse does not meant it is no longer valid. It does not violate rules of English grammar (as do double negatives and wrongly used verbs). I choose not to use it, except in informal circumstances, because of the prejudice against it if one wants to come across as educated.

  330. Patricia Smith -  September 14, 2012 - 1:14 pm

    I use it is all the time. You ain’t got nothin’ against this bub.

  331. John markinson -  September 14, 2012 - 12:00 pm

    It is a word because we aaccepted it into our language like other languages

  332. Augusto -  September 14, 2012 - 11:01 am

    What makes a word be an accepted word is the often usage that people gives to a word.

  333. Logan -  September 14, 2012 - 8:00 am

    It should be a word, but not an essay-worthy word.

  334. Kathrine -  September 13, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    Turning ain’t into an actual, accepted word would take away the fun in using it!

  335. RobAtl -  September 13, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    It’s lamentable that “ain’t” ain’t acceptable. I don’t care about the grammatical aspects of “ain’t,” I just consider it to be lazy. Why have to select among “isn’t, hasn’t, doesn’t,” et al., when you can just say “ain’t”? Then there is the fact that if you say or write “ain’t,” someone within earshot will think you’re an ignorant hick.

    Alternatively, one could regard “ain’t” as an acceptable alternative to the convenient negative-interrogatives that are used as catch-alls in some other languages: German NICHT WAHR? French N’EST-CE PAS? Italian NON È VERO? and Spanish NO ES VERDAD? These can be used in any context and mean “Is it not true?” Such a convenient phrase is lacking in English (Right? ), therefore someone had to invent “ain’t.”

  336. Giratina -  September 13, 2012 - 2:58 pm


  337. winterprincess13 -  September 13, 2012 - 12:43 pm

    I think that the word “ain’t” should be excepted because it is used SO often and it is second nature to walk down the street or even in a school or college/university and hear that word. Ain’t that the truth!

  338. Joe -  September 13, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    The horse ain’t in the barn any longer!

  339. verbatim -  January 27, 2011 - 7:32 am

    From a grammatical standpoint, there is no reason why “ain’t” should be excluded as a valid contraction or valid word. It has an historical background.

    Although it’s grating to purists, the question is why?

  340. Nosipho -  January 24, 2011 - 1:35 pm

    I think “ain’t” is not worthy of acceptance in common speech. Its too informal.

  341. Grammar Nazi -  January 21, 2011 - 7:05 pm

    Do you think “ain’t” is a real word, worthy of acceptance in common speech? Let us know, below.
    Depends if “ain” is a real word.

  342. Jori -  January 17, 2011 - 11:33 pm

    To answer the question, yes, it should be acceptable in common speech.

  343. Laura -  January 16, 2011 - 8:21 pm

    Ain’t IS a word. For example,alot of country singers use it,and so much people use it, even me.

  344. Brian -  January 15, 2011 - 9:29 pm

    The problem with the word is that there is no verb, which is why it can’t be a contraction.

    Hasn’t, aren’t, haven’t, isn’t, etc. all have the verb in full – has, are, have, is.
    If you applied this principle to “ain’t”, the verb would be “ain”. So in reality, we’d have to add “ain” to the dictionary as a verb in order for it to be grammatically correct, then the contraction could follow accordingly.
    With this knowledge, “amn’t” technically uses the rules of a contraction correctly, but I believe it went out of style because of its difficult pronunciation.

    Until “ain” became a word, the most “ain’t” ever could be is a slang term.

  345. Mike Cat -  January 15, 2011 - 2:34 pm

    What does “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” mean? If only I had a friend named Joe…

  346. Denise -  January 14, 2011 - 11:22 am

    It makes the speaker sound ignorant, coarse, and as if he he would go barefoot and shirtless into the Seven-Eleven if there was not a sign on the door forbidding it. If you want to tell the world you’re such a person, use “ain’t” at will.

  347. Mackenzie Schwartz -  January 12, 2011 - 7:28 pm

    if “google” & BOOTYLICIOUS became words then ‘ain’t’ if def a WORD !!

  348. Mackenzie Schwartz -  January 12, 2011 - 7:26 pm

    instead of “ain’t” i talk “isn’t” but either manner : EVERYONE has used 2 once or twice & “ain’t” is fun 2 write & speak ! it is a REAL WORD ! imagine no “ain’t” even 4 the ppl – like me – who don’t use it : “ain’t” is a LOVELY word & i luv the accent !!

  349. halobiohazard -  January 11, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    O Mai Gash people the term “ain’t” can cut down on SO many contractions and its been so widely used and by the way for all the people that don’t accept the word as a word i bet ALL I have that you all have used it at least ONCE or twice in your whole life. and for the people who say that they NEVER did use the word you know that you did but your just denying the fact that you did

  350. Mikayla -  January 8, 2011 - 11:40 am

    Personally, I refuse to say “ain’t”. Hell I cringe when I hear others say it.

  351. ain't -  January 7, 2011 - 3:41 pm


  352. michael -  January 7, 2011 - 8:30 am

    Yeah it’s a real word duh!

  353. Dawnstar -  January 5, 2011 - 4:24 pm

    I think that ain’t shoud be considered a word because I use it all the time, and am never told not to say that.

  354. Sarah -  January 5, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    I don’t understand why some people are so against using “ain’t.” Okay, it’s slang, we get it. To make a point, I find it acceptable. If you’re using an old beloved expression, fine! As long as it isn’t used to make a double negative, who cares? And honestly people, we made “d’oh” from the Simpson’s a real word. “Ain’t” isn’t that bad.

  355. T. Holzhausen -  January 5, 2011 - 9:10 am

    People speak the word right? It is used in common everyday life, and should be considered a word. Ain’t is accepted in spell check on Microsoft word. I believe all this controversy is a waste of time. Ain’t is perfectly acceptable. You don’t always have to be politically correct, have fun, use words that don’t make sense!!! I believe ain’t is a easy way to get your point across. Every one uses it, I live in Indiana and people use it here

  356. Elizabeth -  January 3, 2011 - 10:19 pm

    I live in Texas and plenty of people use the word “ain’t” to make their point. Although it’s almost universally accepted as a word in my group of friends, people usually don’t use it in serious conversation–just like excessive “like’s” are taboo in formal speech.

  357. K. Young -  January 2, 2011 - 5:56 pm

    ‘Google’ became a verb, so they really should make ‘ain’t’ a word.

  358. Stephen S -  January 2, 2011 - 7:12 am

    We could try to kill the use of this word and other “impure” words, but to what end? What makes the English language so wonderful is it’s breadth and diversity. We have a choice to have a vibrant living language or a proper dead language so gesundheit to English, let’s avoid English language poltergeists.

  359. Tony Arnesen -  December 31, 2010 - 6:03 am

    It is simply ‘lazy’ English. Overused and misunderstood, the general public no longer even seems to recognize the fact that it is NOT proper English in its true sense. It is more of a ‘hybrid’ contraction of two words that would otherwise be improperly used if written in long form as implied. The 19 century boasted an American public whose average vocabulary spanned some 80,000 words. Today in our overtly politically correct and unconstitutional intrusion into the area of education by the federal government who now sets the criteria, as with anything else government gets involved with it gets long in the tooth, yet short everywhere else, the average American boasts a vocabulary consisting of around 5000 words…And here we are debating weather ‘aint’ is even a word. Anyone who actually studies the English language knows it is NOT a recognized word. Colloquial, yes… But colloquial doesn’t lead to acceptance.

  360. L Scott -  December 29, 2010 - 9:32 am

    Ain’t ain’t.

    That says it all for me. Is it a word? Obviously, I just typed it. But the only place I’d want to see it used in type is between quotes as a colloquialism. It’s bad english often used as a double negative… and that’s what’s beautiful about it. It is one of those commonly understood colloquialisms that can set a character’s sensability apart from the writer’s.

    Honestly, leave “ain’t” right where it’s at!

  361. Brady Kj -  December 28, 2010 - 3:41 pm

    Ain’t is a commonly used word. It is not a logical contraction, but the English language has never been confined to

  362. Melinda -  December 28, 2010 - 12:56 pm

    Due to the fact that “ain’t” is so widely used and how no one seems to care whether or not it’s a word why should it matter? If it were a word then wouldn’t be in the slang category alongside bro, dude, chillax and many others?
    I believe it should be a word because of how often it is used.

  363. Forever Me -  December 27, 2010 - 3:40 pm

    I personally don’t think ain’t is a real word. There are a lot of other ways to substitute “ain’t”, like the examples they gave. The word may be used in songs and other places, but that is to make the song sound catchier. It also makes phrases shorter, like how Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry stated.
    Ain’t is a slang word, slang isn’t the proper usage of words.

  364. Zippi -  December 25, 2010 - 5:48 pm

    As a contraction, “ain’t” makes no sense (see Sum1′s comment, above). Although it may be acceptable as common parlance, it should not be accepted in formal writing for this reason, if for no other; it is used as a contraction for too many expressions. How can it be acceptable for “ain’t” to mean “am not,” “are not,” “is not,” “have not” and “has not?” I disagree with the example of “do not,” as “we ain’t got any milk left,” reads as ” we haven’t [got] any milk left” and “got” is superfluous. Perhaps, “ain’t” would be more acceptable, if it had but one meaning, after all, we say “aren’t I,” which also makes no sense.

  365. Sum1 -  December 19, 2010 - 7:33 pm

    If ain’t means “are not” then where does the “i” come into play? If it means “is not” then where does the “a” come into play? All letters in a contraction are parts of the original words, there are no added letters. So although ain’t is a word, it can never be proper English because it does not follow any rules of creating a contraction. I feel it will never be a word of use in proper English unless it carries some new meaning in which all letters are used to make it a proper contraction. Even still, its origin will remain the same. Even McJob is a word now and even though not a contraction, there are no added random letters.

  366. someone -  December 16, 2010 - 8:15 pm

    Also, those who cringe did indeed get taught differently, this does show what an impact biased teaching gives.

  367. Louise -  December 16, 2010 - 5:13 am

    “Ain’t” simply sounds offensive. I do not use it even in casual conversation. Hearing or reading the word makes me cringe. Why use “ain’t” when “isn’t” and similar words exist?

  368. Dave Ayers -  December 13, 2010 - 6:00 pm

    hell fire,, I use the word “ain’t” all the time. I think it is gooder than a lot of other words that people use all the time and EVERYONE knows what I mean when I use it so it MUST be a word.

  369. ashley -  December 13, 2010 - 3:57 pm

    i guess it is, but it just doesn’t sound proper

  370. riley -  December 12, 2010 - 9:55 pm

    Phoebe is beautiful, and it’s not a lie. it’s the truth.

  371. Pugmire -  December 12, 2010 - 7:29 pm

    Wow, my English teacher from last year is commenting on here. And she wondered where i got my extensive vocab from. I love you, Cynthia. But my parents always said that amn’t ain’t a word. I’ve been saying it ever since i could talk. They said i was the only person they had ever heard say that, but wait’ll i tell ‘em that it’s an 18th century word in which ain’t is derived from! Teehee!

  372. Sally -  December 11, 2010 - 5:53 pm

    Of course it’s a word. The better phrased question is whether it is a ‘proper’ word. It’s not proper American English. Give it time, however, as one comment noted and this may change. Of course there’s not telling whether it will vanish or vanquish. With the upwelling of anti-intellectualism in the U.S. the odds are good that ‘ain’t’ will become viewed as a perfectly acceptable word or, more likely, folks will just not care anymore in a couple of decades, and damn you for raising the snooty question. Ah well … such is life.

  373. AJ -  December 7, 2010 - 1:14 pm

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about over the word ain’t.

    First to quote Tea McCup
    “Any arrangement of letters with a meaning attached is word. plain and simple. “Ain’t” has mean like any other word that is said.”

    Second I don’t see how it has a hick tang to it.

    Third there is nothing wrong with anything that has a hick tang to it.

  374. Henlin -  December 7, 2010 - 10:40 am

    it isnt really proper to use the word especially in formal events or occassions. Ain’t is not in the dictionary. simple as that.

  375. Toni -  December 6, 2010 - 7:13 pm

    No, “ain’t” is not a real word and should not be accepted in either speech or writing. It is considered a NON-Standard word. A millennium ago during the age of actual education, we were taught that the use of contractions in sentences was unacceptable and poor grammar.

  376. Dori -  December 5, 2010 - 3:55 pm

    Yes, ain’t is a word. A commonly used slang word for informal speech. When you want to sound intellegent, educated, upper class, you should refrain from using it. The fact that there are other words to replace it is a legitimate argument. The comment of why use “pretty” when “beautiful” works just as well is my (and apparently others) the feel of the word. “Yes that house is pretty, but this one is just beautiful!” See the difference? How about “I’m not going to school anymore.” vs. “I ain’t going to school anymore.” It seems in the second sentence the ligitimate word ‘anymore’ should be replaced with non-word ‘no more’ to match the feel of ‘ain’t.’

  377. Britt -  December 4, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    Well “ain’t” is not even a grammatically correct contraction. at least “don’t” “haven’t” and other slang words have a true meaning….”do not” “have not.” My grandmother’s elementary school teacher used to put “ain’t” in a coffin every day to prevent such awful usage. Well, today the “King’s English” as it used to be called was slang in itself. So who are we to say anything is standard or proper when the first language ever written was made up as well? I myself prefer not to say the word but I slip from time to time. It might as well be added to “proper” English, but bear in mind that everything is only deciphered through man’s mentality…..and sanity is overrated as it is. Only the Creator’s “English” is proper in the end so it should not matter in the materialistic world.

  378. Seph -  December 3, 2010 - 10:00 am

    I’ve used the word all my life, but the best argument i can make is that its now in the dictionary. So “ain’t ain’t a word” ain’t true anymore. ^_^

  379. pb -  November 28, 2010 - 10:06 am

    “Ain’t” is a word, as surely as it can be written down, and spelled… It’s slang — simple but inoffensive… It’s charming and old, like an antiquated cowboy hat… And its history is quite ancient already! It’s been around since 1700′s, in its narrow and then broader meanings. It’s popular, increasingly so, and it’s not going away any time soon. — Rejoice!

  380. You're a stranger -  November 28, 2010 - 9:47 am

    Personally, I find the word deplorable and a reminder of the ailing educational system. Still, despite my disadvantaged educational background, I maintained the ability to articulate properly–if not exceptionally.

    I feel that speaking slang is somewhat similar to the icing on the proverbial cake. To use it without sounding ludicrously unintelligent, one must first demonstrate intelligence through speaking properly–or perhaps improperly but with reason and logic.

    I am a little less alarmed by the existence of “txt” language simply because it is advantageous to send abbreviated messages quickly via text message on phones; I am much more likely to die in a car accident because I can’t bring myself to text in the abbreviated form–or less likely because I just don’t do it in the first place.

  381. Clark -  November 27, 2010 - 8:53 am

    English is a rich “word soup” with elements that are native, borrowed, invented, and outright Shanghaied. It is the most versatile language in the world; that is why it’s the international language of science.

    I find “ain’t” to be an almost perfectly acceptable word. It is found in the larger standard dictionaries, and caries its own definition. But one needs to be judicious in its use. For instance, one would never use the word on, say, a job application.

    But in everyday speech, especially after one has first demonstrated a firm command of the ‘standard’ language, “ain’t” can be used for emphasis, to draw attention to or reinforce a concept. “That won’t happen” is one way, the standard way, to state one’s belief that some potential future event will not take place. But “That just ain’t gonna happen” is much more emphatic. It ‘seals the deal’. So fuggeddaboudit, a’ight? It ain’t gonna happen.

    BTW, Nikki, you spelled ‘horrendous’ perfectly. Gold star! – C.

  382. Miriam Queiroz -  November 27, 2010 - 8:47 am

    I think ain’t should be acceptable in the English language. It is a perfectly respectable contraction that has sadly gone out of style.

  383. Nikki -  November 26, 2010 - 9:52 pm

    My teachers at my high school use it all the time, and EVERYONE uses it. Under the difinition, ain’t is a word. My English teacher told us to write a paper on our opinion of school uniforms, and I used the word ain’t 10+ times in my paper, and I got 100% on it. My teacher even said we could use it! Just because most adults, and most kids were taught the “ain’t ain’t a word” doesn’t make it true.
    It’s the same concept of the book “Frindle”. This kid’s teacher was a HUGE dictionary nut, and got pissed when someone used slang. So, the kid and his friends came up with a new word for the pen–frindle. Soon, everyone was saying it, kids and adults. Then a few years later, it was in the dictionary.
    A word is something we say and write, and most people use it at some point. What about when cavemen were around? their language were grunts. Languages develop, that’s how we have words like “beautiful” and “horrendous” (I so spelled that wrong…). Just because it’s not in the dictionary doesn’t mean it’s not a word. Just get over it, it’s used EVERYWHERE.

  384. Miranda -  November 26, 2010 - 5:29 am

    Ain’t is NOT a word. End of story.

  385. Katelyn -  November 21, 2010 - 7:03 am

    This may sound crazy, but what if the very act of making “aint” a word took away some of its meaning? I think that its charm comes from the fact that its NOT accepted in the academic world. That’s what gives people such chutzpah when they use it.

  386. Artie -  November 19, 2010 - 6:44 pm

    ‘Tisn’t the most classy-sounding word in our language, I’ll agree, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to try to figure out how to pronounce “amn’t”.

  387. Nicole -  November 19, 2010 - 3:25 am

    In sixth grade, I tried to use “am’nt” in a story I wrote – my teacher said it wasn’t a word! Now I want to call her and tell her I was right! XD

  388. archie -  November 18, 2010 - 12:48 am

    “amn’t i” is still used in Scotland quite often

  389. Theresa -  October 29, 2010 - 11:41 am

    Well,it is what it is.

  390. fifteen -  October 28, 2010 - 7:27 pm

    ani’t.. such a hick word…

  391. Libertarian -  October 28, 2010 - 11:59 am

    There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

  392. Peter -  October 26, 2010 - 1:15 pm

    Clearly, it ain’t a word.

  393. Manuel Goncalves -  October 23, 2010 - 8:48 pm

    I am not an english expert but in my country the teachers are telling that Who do any language are the people. and if the people tell ain´t as one word ain`t is english and end point.

  394. Spawn -  October 22, 2010 - 1:27 pm

    I was born and raised in Texas, so words like “ain’t”, “y’all” and my personal favorite, “GIONOTAHYE!” are part of my langauge.

  395. Hiroshi Mishima -  October 21, 2010 - 3:29 pm

    This is completely ridiculous. What some people think on the matter of is it a word or isn’t it is pointless. The fact remains that it IS being used as a proper word by an incalculable amount of the populace. The ones who say it isn’t a word are more often than not still using it when the situation fits, and if that’s true, than I say it’s as much a word as anything else.

    To the silly individual who thinks they’re being clever “LOL” is not a word because it is an abbreviation for Laughing Out Loud. Most of the “internet words” are such, including “oh my god” and “rolling on the floor laughing my ass off”.

    I would also like to point out that many of the older words in written history (which were none the less considered to be words) had a tendency to feel made up on the spot, as many of them no doubt were. The fact that someone decided “ain’t” was a hick or hillbilly sounding word is a matter of circumstance, but that shouldn’t count it out. Or are we going to say “am” isn’t a word, too? It sounds silly and when used sometimes feels like I’m speaking in a less intelligent manner, oh no, it must surely be a colourful slang word, yes? No, and neither is “ain’t”.

    Some of you people really need to grow up and figure out what is more important. Instead of worrying about whether this isn’t a word or not, I’d be more concerned with the existent of “txt” words. That is, words which are missing pieces to make them quicker to type. A startling amount of people are trying to accept these are “proper words”. I once read an article about them trying to get it accepted as test answers on quizzes.

  396. karoline -  October 21, 2010 - 12:24 pm

    i really dont care it doesnt matter,

  397. WHAT the...?! -  October 19, 2010 - 7:43 am

    I’m all in favor of more-widespread usage of “ain’t”! It drastically increases the chance that I will remain employed. Let’s face it, if it’s a choice between job applications submitted by me and some yahoo who uses “ain’t”….

  398. Guest -  October 19, 2010 - 3:43 am

    Actually it was at one time. I have a Britsih English textbook published in 1838 that gives “ain’t” as a contraction in it’s list of parsing. It also has a section on the proventionalisms of the 13 colonies. Yet I remember my English teachers telling me “Ain’t is not a word and never has been.” I guess I should have asked my history teacher instead!

  399. I dont remember -  October 16, 2010 - 10:19 am

    I agree with Tea McCup 100%. Any arrangement of letters with a meaning attached is word. plain and simple. “Ain’t” has mean like any other word that is said. Why not just label it appropriately as “slang”? So much less fuss.

  400. Guest -  October 14, 2010 - 1:00 pm

    “Good grief you people, do you think other nations fuss this much over grammar?” No. They’re too busy beating us in math and science.

  401. James -  October 12, 2010 - 8:29 pm

    If ain’t is a word…then aight (as a contraction of alright) will be next.

  402. David -  October 6, 2010 - 8:22 am

    I had to learn Latin in school and after studying it for a couple of years I was interested to learn that the Latin taught in school/university is not the same as the Latin that was spoken. Spoken Latin had far fewer rules and was, as you would expect, full of slang and common abbreviations. The question of “ain’t” seems to be a similar situation to me. While English language purists may want everyone to speak perfect dictionary English, reality and the natural evolution of language will result in simplifications and colloquialisms slipping in.

    If you ain’t happy about that, well, I ain’t interested in your two bit opinion! :-)

  403. I am Myself -  October 3, 2010 - 10:17 am

    To “a random Texan,” most of us aren’t. In fact, in some places words like “ain’t” are used only in creative writing to develop the voice of a non-sophisticated person. Not saying I agree on either side, but the way you put your comment, it sounds like you think anyone who isn’t Texan is some kind of wierdo.

  404. JustinBeiber'sbeast -  October 2, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    Mike totaly has a point, just add aint in the dictonary, people. NO FREAKING BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!! besides one of the stupidest phrases that I have ever heard is “aint aint a word so you aint gonna use it” AINT IS A WORD, DONT IGNORE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  405. 200th -  October 2, 2010 - 10:35 am

    Whoops. This is the 200th. :)

  406. 200th -  October 2, 2010 - 10:33 am

    200th comment on this story! *<:-)

  407. Reality -  October 2, 2010 - 10:32 am

    According to Dictionary.com, ain’t is a word, but the first time I typed it in, it autocorrected it as ain%27t. Now I know that I didn’t type that, so there must be something wrong with either my keyboard or their server. If you experience the same problem, please comment below.

  408. Zindagi -  September 30, 2010 - 7:48 pm

    As a linguist… I must argue that “ain’t” is indeed a word. If it is a sound and has meaning to it, then it is a word. If people who spoke English said “hibbitybibbity” and intended it to mean “purple, elephant-shaped cantaloupes,” then that would be a word in the English language. Nobody says “hibbitybibbity,” so it is not within the confines of the English language. A language is not defined by a dictionary, but rather by the usage of the speakers; if it were anything else, English would not exist. So what if we borrow? So what if we create? It is this very thing that gave us ALL language. “Ain’t” is just evidence of evolution. Slang, yes, but “bad English?” No. “Hibbitybibbity” is bad English; mispronouncing a word is bad English. “Ain’t” is dialectic slang. It is a word. It is English. Mainstream? Hardly. But legitimate nonetheless.

  409. "Ain't I," said the pig. -  September 29, 2010 - 7:32 am

    A’ight, y’all… you know as well as I do that ain’t IS a word. Whether you choose to seek the enchanting convolution of our many shared dialects, or choose to revel in your contrariety, there will still exist those who speak in terms that you choose not to (like ending a sentence in a preposition… overutilizing ellipses… or run-on parentheticals…). It’s just style, folks! The beauty of style is the marked lack of truth, in favor of personal expression. Professing your superiority of speech while allowing yourself the delusional latitude to be upset by those who differ in their expression marks you clearly as a bigot (Amy/Chris). Try a smile instead of getting mad when someone says something out of proper grammar… because it just ain’t worth it.

  410. A Random Texan -  September 28, 2010 - 7:47 pm

    It most definitely is a word! And for those of you who think it isn’t,
    “ya’ll” just probably aren’t Texans!

  411. Whoever -  September 27, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    Just a quick note: anyone who’s disputing “ain’t”‘s validity as a word because they don’t think it’s in the dictionary, take a look in the Oxford English Dictionary.

  412. Chris Pasley -  September 27, 2010 - 8:35 am

    I completely agree with Amy on this one! ^^^

  413. Chris Pasley -  September 27, 2010 - 8:32 am

    No ain’t is definitely not a word! This isn’t an ebonical america and if it ever becomes that way than that’s when I move out of this country!!

  414. kbow -  September 26, 2010 - 10:41 am

    If ain’t ain’t in the dictionary then ain’t ain’t a word so my mom and dad say, but I still love using it.

  415. Whoever -  September 21, 2010 - 9:25 am

    “but if it’s considered a legit word in the English language, there really is no use for isn’t, or aren’t, anymore, right?”

    What’s the point of using “pretty” when “beautiful” works just as well?

  416. Whoever -  September 21, 2010 - 9:15 am

    “Ain’t” is used by native speakers in everyday language and everyone understands each other perfectly when it’s used.

    What we think is irrelevant; it’s objectively a viable word in the English language.

  417. Amy -  September 20, 2010 - 7:30 pm

    “Aint” is not a grammatical word and should not be used…EVER! If you ever want to have a life (or at least a good one) in this world you should learn to use proper grammar! It always makes me mad when someone says something out of proper grammar! Fix your grammar or dont come anywhere near me!

  418. BlueSheep -  September 19, 2010 - 11:12 pm

    I think it depends on where you live as to whether you think ‘ain’t’ is a word or not. Maybe socio-economic related? I don’t know. It’s just one of those dialect things like the ‘thong vs. g-string’ and swimmers vs. bathers’ thing.

  419. Storm -  September 15, 2010 - 9:23 am

    Ain’t Is a Word!!! TWO THUMBS UP FOR AIN’T !!!:) :)

  420. Storm -  September 15, 2010 - 9:21 am

    Hey For all the People that don’t use ain’t sooo…what! Why fix it…We all understand what it means. We should Know how to use it anyway’s..:P

  421. EnglishSnob -  September 15, 2010 - 9:16 am

    My parents were both from Northern states, but moved to the south before I was born. Growing up, I had always been told that ain’t was not a real word. When I was younger, I even lived in a few other countries and came back to the southern United States for work. However, it had already been drilled into my mind that educated people didn’t use “ain’t” in proper English. So, maybe I am a snob for thinking less of people that do use it, but that is the way that I was raised. I think that is why a lot of people in the northern US feel superior for not using it, eventhough I know that a lot of southern people use that term. Although, I think that the South has some of their own hangups about the language as people here have tried to “correct” my pronunciation of caramel and pecan pie. I think that ain’t will likely continue to be a regional thing as I don’t feel that it is widely used everywhere. While I expect to hear it a lot in a place like Alabama, I would not expect to hear it often in Colorado. Everyone thinks that their way is correct and it really depends on where you are.

  422. Dr. デリックラウダーミルク -  September 15, 2010 - 6:53 am

    If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, was derived from other ducks like a duck, functions and is used like a duck… what is it?

    “Ain’t” is a duck wether you like it or not, trivialities be damned.

  423. Jess -  September 11, 2010 - 11:09 am

    It’s used in everyday language, but if it’s considered a legit word in the English language, there really is no use for isn’t, or aren’t, anymore, right?

  424. Wilddwarf -  September 9, 2010 - 4:04 pm

    Good grief you people, do you think other nations fuss this much over grammar?

  425. Mr. Bradfield -  September 9, 2010 - 12:58 pm

    You didn’t even mention “mayn’t” (rhymes with *paint* and *ain’t*). Whole county next to ours uses it. Older folk do, anyway.

  426. Anon -  September 9, 2010 - 7:53 am

    “Ain’t” is a part of our language heritage. It might not be the best or most proper English, but that does not mean that it should be thrown out. It is certainly a slang or improper word, but it is a part of our heritage and (when used properly in appropriate situations) can add richness to our words. Personally, I will sometimes use “ain’t” for added emphasis–I like “ain’t” much better than any cuss word.

  427. Miranda -  September 8, 2010 - 2:40 pm

    considering the fact that so many people use it — movies, books, all races–it prob should be recognized as a word/contraction.

    did not know about amnt! or hain’t! interestiing.

  428. Grazip -  September 8, 2010 - 11:07 am

    I think that you all are a bunch of stuck up snobs if you think that ain’t ain’t a word!! I am a girl born in Georgia and raised in Arkansas and I love the word!!! Some would say that I’m just a country hick and tell me to shut my mouth. BUT . . . Would a country hich want to be an English Major, a writer, and a teacher? I would rather be one of the illiterate rednecks than one of the stuck up snobs who say that ain’t is not a word!!! Granted, in formal writing it would have no place, but other contractions have no place in formal writing either!!! TALK ABOUT HIPOCRISY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  429. Daniel -  September 7, 2010 - 11:01 pm

    Ain’t has been a commonly used word for well over two hundred years.

    Here’s the definition of slang:

    1. very informal usage in vocabulary and idiom that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, elliptical, vivid, and ephemeral than ordinary language, as Hit the road.
    (in English and some other languages) speech and writing characterized by the use of vulgar and socially taboo vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.
    the jargon of a particular class, profession, etc.
    the special vocabulary of thieves, vagabonds, etc.; argot.

    “Very informal”… hmmm… like use of ellipses, right? Or the word “hi”, which is not considered slang, though it likely comes from “hey” which is even more informal. Doesn’t qualify does it?

    It’s not vulgar or socially taboo.

    It doesn’t belong to any class or profession and isn’t considered “jargon”.

    Soooooooooo….. considering that none of the above are true. On what basis can you consider it “slang”?

    Snobbery.. just snobbery. Ain’t it?

  430. Ain't it grand? -  September 7, 2010 - 8:47 am

    Ain`t is slang, end of story.

  431. Eustace -  September 7, 2010 - 6:21 am

    I’m appalled at the fact that ain’t gets such badmouthing! Sure, I don’t expect or want to hear it at Buckingham palace or during a state of the nation address, but still, it is a fully legitimate piece of the English language and a very charming one at that. Will it disappear? Heavens, I hope not! Language is more than “good” or “bad” language, in fact, there are no such things! Give ain’t a break and enjoy its Dennis the Menace-esque status in English.

  432. de best -  September 6, 2010 - 2:28 pm

    “Ain’t is a word y’all!!!!!

  433. Someone -  September 4, 2010 - 1:29 am

    aint is a word

  434. Toni -  September 1, 2010 - 8:50 am

    “Do you think “ain’t” is a real word, worthy of acceptance in common speech? Let us know, below.”

    Obviously it’s a real word, whether I think so or not since people use it as such and have for centuries. Worthy of acceptance in common speech? When I hear it, I think of someone unlearned and ignorant instead of someone intelligent and learned. Perhaps it’s just my training, but I don’t care to use it or hear it. Still, I have used it at times and have learned to not pay much attention to others when they use it.

    For fun, when I was a child, I used to say, “Ain’t ain’t a word and I ain’t gonna say it.”

    But, it’s widespread and my opinion isn’t going to change its usage.

  435. Anon -  August 30, 2010 - 11:28 pm

    Now “ain’t” doesn’t look like a word anymore…XD

  436. Escombo -  August 30, 2010 - 1:46 pm

    “Ain’t” is a word. A beautiful word!

  437. jeanne -  August 30, 2010 - 8:19 am

    As a wordsmith I was taught not to use “don’t, can’t, haven’t” and certainly not “ain’t” in print. Maybe because it looks untidy as written words. We are already faced with so many folk not knowing where to use an apostrophe – John’s or Johns’ – and yet they manage to get it in the right place for ain’t.

    If you are writing dialogue this is something different. I suppose it amounts to folk being too tired or not wanting to write have not, cannot, do not and am not.

    Glad I joined Dictionary.com. It is ‘finishing my education’… he he he

  438. jeanne -  August 30, 2010 - 8:17 am

    As a wordsmith I was taught not to use “don’t, can’t, haven’t” and certainly not “ain’t” in print. Maybe because it looks untidy as written words. We are already faced with so many folk not knowing where to use an apostrophe – John’s or Johns’ – and yet they manage to get it in the right place for ain’t.

    If you are writing dialogue this is something different. I suppose it amounts to folk being too tire or not wanting to write have not, cannot, do not and am not.

    Glad I joined Dictionary.com. It is ‘finishing my education’… he he he

    I do not believe the use of ain’t as a spokenword is as imoortant as the written word bearinginmiond we have somanydialectsin the UK.

  439. Rawrbbq -  August 28, 2010 - 11:32 am

    Only ignorant individuals use “ain’t.” It’s not a word. It should not be a word. No need for people to sound stupider than they already do (generally).

  440. Someone -  August 25, 2010 - 2:17 am

    AIN”T IS A WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And i’m ain’t lying!

  441. T Odom -  August 23, 2010 - 7:42 am

    I am an English Education major, and believe that phrases used commonly become slang first. Eventually these words become proper grammar. If our language doesn’t allow for these changes, then English will become a “dead” language similar to the fate of Latin.

    “Ain’t” has been in use for many years, and is used commonly. My English teacher would say that it is a “slang word” used among peers, but not used in formal writing or speech.

  442. forex robot -  August 19, 2010 - 7:19 pm

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  443. Joy Smith -  August 17, 2010 - 6:36 am

    Alex. W has the right idea… Ain’t is a perfectly good word, but keep it in its place, OK?

  444. Wishy -  August 15, 2010 - 5:03 pm

    “Ain’t” is a word more than “texting” or “blog” or “Internet” ever was. It’s a word just as much as “shan’t” is. Just because a great number of people believe “ain’t” is inappropriate, that doesn’t mean there isn’t another great many who believe the opposite.

    I ain’t believing anything else.

  445. Julie -  August 13, 2010 - 5:26 pm

    “It is also used in some dialects as a contraction for “do not,” “does not,” and “did not.” For example, “We ain’t got any milk left.””

    Surely this “ain’t” is not do or does not, but have not!

  446. JoyCorcoran -  August 13, 2010 - 12:21 pm

    I read that ain’t has been around since 1770. It’s a common word and a commoner’s word — one likes to think one is educated if one doesn’t use words like ain’t. But life would be so boring without colloquialisms and when everyone in your family and region uses a word, it makes more sense to accept it and enjoy it. Most people speak from an oral tradition. If we keep funding education so generously, that will remain the case.

  447. crystal clear -  August 13, 2010 - 2:10 am

    And my apologies regarding the date.. Samuel Johnson published the first comprehensive dictionary that stands as the prototype for modern English dictionaries in 1755.

  448. crystal clear -  August 12, 2010 - 11:44 pm

    PS… One of the canons of the English Language is of course, “Canterbury Tales”, by Chaucer.. perhaps all of you purists should read it. I agree, “ain’t” is not acceptable language in formal settings, but it is a widely and commonly used word, usually in phrases as indicated in others’ comments above, and it is used outside of Hicksville, USA. We use it in Australia, and I’ve definitely heard it used in British films, and in New Zealand and by Canadians. I can’t comment on South Africa. For this reason, it should be included in a dictionary. Slang and colloquialisms also are represented in dictionaries, particularly ones specific to types of English, for a start, but it being such a widely used word, it should definitely be included. For those who bemoan the lowering of standards of the English language, have a quick squizz (oh no, dreaded slang!) at the history of the English language.. the dictionary was only invented in the 1800′s and it was set as the dialect of the author, which is also the neighbourhood where the court happened to be. Wealth and power as usual have the last word, but look at the multitudes of humans on this planet.. should we exterminate them for being grammatically and dialectically incorrect? Hitler would have had more fun in Germany, he could have exterminated linguistically inferior persons too…. But back to English.. how did Old English and Middle English give way to Modern English? How did American English occur? Language changes to suit its users, that’s all there is to it. Change is a part of life. And judging someone as inferior because of the way they speak… and let me guess, you call yourself a Christian.

    PSS: I have to constantly ignore the spell checker which wants to tell me that my English is incorrect and would have me spelling color, favor, neighbor, traveling, rather than my “Queen’s English” derived Australian, which of course, spells it “correctly”. Was there something about a pipe?

  449. crystal clear -  August 12, 2010 - 11:17 pm

    English is one of the 76 written languages in the world and there are a lot more oral languages existing. Just because our language is written does not mean it must adhere to externally imposed laws of language that arise from it being written. All language is inherently used to communicate, and if those words are used and understood, even if it communicates also a “different class” of people, then it is still following the inherent law of language, rather than the imposed one. Language is by nature, a creative facility, and as it is a defining fact of being human, makes humans inherently creative too.. especially in its use.

    Let the words stand, and let’s put our grammar text books aside, shall we. I am a teacher of English as a foreign language, and I do teach my students things that they might hear – I don’t teach them to speak or write it, but for clarity they need to know what something is if they are likely to hear it. I am also a writer, and don’t hesitate to use such “anomolies” if it fits the character and style. When I was at university studying linguistics we were taught the above linguistic theory on such things.. so it is even institutionalised as perfectly acceptable. If you shudder at the use perhaps you should check your prejudice, rather than your dictionary.

  450. Kekelolo -  August 12, 2010 - 9:16 pm

    No, it is not a word worthy of proper grammar.

  451. Vicky -  August 12, 2010 - 8:16 pm

    The word “ain’t”, I believe, has come to stay. So let’s it be, shall we?

  452. redneck -  August 12, 2010 - 7:03 pm

    ‘Ain’t’ is a contraction of ‘am not’, which somehow retains a tinge of virtue regardless its disparaged position in the grammar lexicon. If you do not fall under the category of people who ain’t using ‘ain’t,’ then I would say to you ‘pull yourself together and act normal’ so that nobody critisizes you being lazy.

  453. Colin Selford -  August 12, 2010 - 5:26 pm

    “Ain’t” is getting unfair treatment for some reason, possibly because English professors and teachers have been raised not to use the word. There were many other cases in English etymology where new words were added to the official vocabulary because of a) widespread use or b) general public affirmation. “Ain’t” is being used not only in the US but in many other English-speaking countries as well, and has been in use for several decades, but is not being recognized.
    In fact, words like “spud” were created by random whims of individuals, while words like “radar” were formed by contracting (i.e. abbreviating) technical terminology. If legitimate words can be formed by those routes, why shouldn’t a word that has legitimate roots and has a wide usage be formally recognized?

  454. sweetpea -  August 12, 2010 - 4:35 pm

    I think it should be accepted in common speech, it’s certainly used enough. As for for formal writing, etc. it should stay out!!

  455. Matt M -  August 12, 2010 - 2:36 pm


  456. Saf -  August 12, 2010 - 2:28 pm

    “Civility and courtesy are becoming dangerously difficult to find, let’s not contribute to the slow deterioration of our society by legitimizing the word “aint”.”

    By “our society,” you mean “my society.” Or did you think that everyone who speaks English is a white, middle-class American? Also, how does using the word “ain’t” relate in any way to the perceived decline of civility and courtesy?

  457. Michael -  August 12, 2010 - 1:59 pm

    Chloe on August 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm wrote:
    As a young teenager, i have to disagree. I’ve always been taught strickly by my dad to use correct grammer, at all times, but he’s a highly educated lawyer who grew up in britin. So he was raised, so to speake, by the “core” of the english language an thus so were my siblings, who would chew me out( the youngest) when i picked up southern frases from school. I hear the word ain’t pretty much 24/7, living in the “sticks” of the south.
    I don’t think the word ain’t is worthy of acceptance in common speech. I look at it as more of a “lazy mans” word used by people who are simpley too lazy to speake correctly and that it down grades oneself, announcing that you don’t care if it not only sounds bad isn’t appart of old english language. It’s, more or less, slang to me.i do correct my friends on its useage, and they stop and reword what they said, showing me that they are capable of speaking corect english, but find it okay to just chop out a few words inspite of how they were taught, because i know every english teacher at my school, also do not consider this the proper way to speake.
    As one who enjoys irony, both intentional and unintentional, I have really enjoyed reading these comments. I sincerely hope that the irony in Chloe’s post was intentional; regardless, it has made my day.

    Reading these comments has been very enlightenting. The degree of both elitism and prejudice that these comments reveal is troublesome. But I suppose some people have to find ways to feel superior to others. I am fully aware that I am superior to most when in my niche, but even there I know that there are those who are better. I am also very aware that once I am outside my field of expertise, I am outclassed by many or even most. Thus the only people for whom I feel disdain are those who are elitists, unjustly prejudiced, or unreasonably cruel.

    I strive to speak and write the language properly, even in informal settings when I use plenty of contractions. But to look down on someone for using “ain’t” is ludicrous. I’d rather spend my time with an illiterate redneck – if he’ll have me – than with such elitists. After all, the redneck won’t look down on me when I hand him a cold beer that is not an import; and when I find myself in some sort of real trouble, the redneck is far more likely to be both willing and able to help.

    It just ain’t right of y’all to be disparaging such a useful contraction, ‘specially ’cause it’s been used for so long and by such high-falutin folk as King Charles II. If you ain’t better’n a king, then you jest ain’t got a leg to stand on when you go puttin down ain’t.

  458. WhatwouldWebstersay? -  August 12, 2010 - 1:59 pm

    Arguing that “ain’t” is an acceptable and grammatically correct part of the English language is yet another case of lowered expectation. It is the same as endorsing lazy and improper behavior as normal. The apologists say that it is allowable to use the word “ain’t” just as it is to wear pants hanging so low that underwear is visible, talk rudely and loudly on the cell phone in public places. We should expect more from ourselves. Civility and courtesy are becoming dangerously difficult to find, let’s not contribute to the slow deterioration of our society by legitimizing the word “aint”.

  459. Saf -  August 12, 2010 - 1:35 pm

    I like you, Michael.

  460. Matt M -  August 12, 2010 - 1:20 pm

    Michael on August 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    Cynthia Miller on August 11, 2010 at 6:35 am
    “What everybody does or say, doesn’t mean that is right! or that we have to accept it. This sounds awful. I hate it actually. I learned formal language, that is not written English. Teachers shouldn’t use it.”

    Oh, the irony!

    ^^Win^^ … Sorry, had to.

  461. Matt M -  August 12, 2010 - 1:17 pm

    To say that we should accept ain’t as a valid word because it’s used so much is paramount to saying let’s call the phrase “Aren’t I your favorite uncle?” proper English. Just because it occurs commonly does not in any way give us warrant to deem it acceptable. If an instructor says not to use slang then leave “ain’t” off your papers. Colloquial speech is one thing, but where proper English is called for, why should we make apathetic changes like incorporating “ain’t”? How ridiculous would you feel to hear your child reading from a school’s text book something to the extent of “The United States of America ain’t the only country with a constitution…” I think I’d die a little inside.

    “Accepting “ain’t” as a word would be just one of millions of changes that the language has undergone.” – It’s accepted as slang; be happy and don’t ask for anything more. Say it to your friends, your family, your colleagues, and even your professors if they’ll allow it in their classes, but understand that like much of what we say on a daily basis, it is grammatically incorrect.

    “Guess the word should be accepted, cos its widely used” – I thank God daily that individuals like yourself are not responsible for what words, phrases and basic rules of literature are and are not considered in formal speech and writing to be appropriate. If you cannot figure out why then I only believe this furthermore.

    The English language is a beautiful one no matter how boring and mundane it might sound to those who speak it daily. We don’t want empty beer cans, broken bottles, and other such debris littering the streets and parks we frequent daily so why should we let unsophisticated rubbish like “ain’t” start to pile up on the pages of our literature? And yes, folks, I say ain’t in everyday speech from time to time. I just don’t believe it needs to be officially incorporated into the language.

  462. Michael -  August 12, 2010 - 1:05 pm

    Cynthia Miller on August 11, 2010 at 6:35 am
    “What everybody does or say, doesn’t mean that is right! or that we have to accept it. This sounds awful. I hate it actually. I learned formal language, that is not written English. Teachers shouldn’t use it.”

    Oh, the irony!

  463. Michael -  August 12, 2010 - 12:57 pm

    For those who say that “ain’t” is not proper English, you are correct. There is no denying that “ain’t” is a contraction. In proper English – the English used in formal settings – all contractions are considered improper. When I was in college, we were not allowed to use any contractions in papers. This was true not just for English papers, but also for papers submitted in our other classes as well, including History and Philosophy.

    It follows that if you are in a situation where you feel free to use “I’m,” “haven’t,” or “can’t,” then you are in a situation where “ain’t” is equally valid. Whether you choose to use “I’m not” rather than “I ain’t” is personal preference; neither is more correct because both signify informality and, if the situation were a formal one where proper English would be expected, then “I am not” would be the correct choice.

    As with the contractions for “am not,” the choice between “aren’t” and “ain’t” is simply personal preference. If you choose to look down on those who prefer “ain’t” to your own personal preference, then it is you who are in error. If you commit this error while using contractions yourself, then you commit the additional sin of hypocrisy.

  464. Saf -  August 12, 2010 - 12:41 pm

    As an afterthought, any word as expressive and with as much character as “ain’t” is surely an enrichment to our language. The fact that I wouldn’t use it on a job application is totally irrelevant. I wouldn’t use the legitimized words “sybaritic,” “aphotic,” or “shenanigan” on a resume either, for sundry reasons.

  465. Michael -  August 12, 2010 - 12:41 pm

    Eman on August 11, 2010 at 5:49 am said:
    “It’s acceptable for many reasons, but it’s still not a logical grammatical contraction. But if it’s one or the other, than it’s simply not a proper word. Even if illiterate rednecks popularized it two hundred years ago.”

    It was not popularized by “illiterate rednecks” two hundred years ago. It was popularized by the English upper crust. King Charles II established it into usage. Lord Byron also used it in letters written to his peers in the early 19th century. It became disparaged because Charles Dickens used it as part of the Cockney accent in his writings. Because Cockney was (and is) disdained, and because Dickens linked “ain’t” to Cockney, it was disdained merely by association.

    Therefore your elitist assumption that it was illiterate rednecks who popularized “ain’t” two hundred years ago is absolutely incorrect. It was popularized by the well-educated English upper-crust about 300 years ago and only fell into disfavor because it was used as a literary tool by one single novelist about 150 years ago. Thus, you have allowed your mind to be twisted by a simple literary ploy of a mere novelist and the predices engendered by his literary mechanism.

  466. Kassidy -  August 12, 2010 - 12:32 pm

    ya’ll have not a thing better to do.

  467. Dr Spx -  August 12, 2010 - 12:27 pm

    When I was a boy in the early 1950′s, “ain’t” was only a small step above dirty words. My mother was raised on a poor farm in the dustbowl in West Texas, but always insisted on correct English. I use “ain’t” myself now almost exclusively for jocular effect.

    For better or worse, it is a fact that certain forms of English are only acceptable in informal contexts. People unable to use more formal, “proper” language may be impaired in their career aspirations.

  468. Saf -  August 12, 2010 - 12:11 pm

    So far, I’ve seen a lot of strong (and a few weak) arguments for the inclusion of “ain’t,” but most of the arguments opposing it seem a bit shallow.

    If your reason(s) for opposing the word (and it clearly IS a word) include one or more of the following sentiments, I think you could probably benefit from considering that the problem may lie within yourself, rather than within the word:

    “It just sounds ignorant [to me].”
    “I was taught differently.”
    “There are other, more commonly-accepted words that could replace it.”

    As for those of you ever-present handful who think that the acceptance of commonly-used slang or dialectical speech into a language is somehow degrading or denigrating to the anaphoric language, it seems to me that you aren’t actually in love with the English language, but in love with a memory of a moment in time when the language fit your ideals of what it was ‘supposed to be’. The language may have grown away from you, but that doesn’t mean that it has become lesser or worse — it means that you do not have the ability to accept it as it currently is.

    Too harsh?

  469. andrea -  August 12, 2010 - 12:09 pm

    I think people can use it because it’s just a very loose contraction. However, it should only be used in more casual settings and not taught in school

  470. FooMannChoo -  August 12, 2010 - 11:56 am

    If “Googled” and “Tweeted” are accepted as a verb, why cant “ain’t” be accepted as a word!!!???

  471. Christopher -  August 12, 2010 - 11:52 am

    I think ain’t is a real word.We also call aunts Ain’t.For example,we call Aunt Sue Ain’t Sue.

  472. Moultrie D, -  August 12, 2010 - 11:13 am

    My big brother told me when I was but a ted, “Ain’t ain’t right.”

  473. kelsey -  August 12, 2010 - 10:48 am

    I don’t understand why people make such a big fuss over this. Personally, I don’t have a problem with ain’t. I just like to use other words instead because technically ain’t isn’t a word. People make up words all the time and sometimes they get put in the dictionary. So many people use AIN’T and it’s so widespread. So why don’t they put it in the dictionary? That would make it a word and people would stop complaining about it. If you don’t like a word, you don’t have to use it. It’s as simple as that.

  474. Sam K. -  August 12, 2010 - 10:47 am

    I ain’t gonna say either way.

  475. Gary -  August 12, 2010 - 10:43 am

    I ain’t never had no problem with the word “ain’t” (OMG…that’s a triple negative!!)

  476. Cowboy Bob -  August 12, 2010 - 10:35 am

    My English professor in college had a PhD. in English. He said that he had “earned” the right to use ain’t and frequently did so. Since I don’t have a PhD. in English I cain’t use it…

  477. Paula -  August 12, 2010 - 10:19 am

    Come on. All you purists can’t possibly be serious. Look at the oldest English texts, and compare it to how Englis is spoken now. The language has constantly changed and evolved since it was created. Trying to stop that would be like trying to stop the world from turning. Accepting “ain’t” as a word would be just one of millions of changes that the language has undergone.

  478. Roy -  August 12, 2010 - 10:13 am

    Why have a word for something that we already have a word for? It is just a ghetto replacement for isn’t.

  479. David Kowalski -  August 12, 2010 - 9:58 am

    The word is used so much in modern day English, it should be considered a word, or at least as a slang term. Yes, it is considered “bad English”, but who decides that anyway. I say if it’s in the dictionary, it’s a word. If it ain’t in the dictionary, it ain’t a word. I believe that it is acceptable in spoken English, but not in formal spoken or formal written English. Yes, it is “hick” sounding, but so is “jug” and “ought”. Nothing can truly be considered “bad English” anyway, English is just plain bad in general. How is is that “comb” is pronounced the way it is, but “bomb” is pronounced: “bom”? There’s no real difference, except for a change in the first letter.

  480. Casey -  August 12, 2010 - 9:57 am

    I was raised by both parents and teachers, on the term, “Ain’t ain’t a word so you ain’t supposed to say it.” I have taken this with me into my young adult life. While I understand how it can be viewed as a word in certain situations, you will not hear me using it.
    I feel as though it makes a person appear less intelligent. I am, by no means, calling those that use “ain’t” in their every day sentences, stupid. I do, however, feel that “ain’t” is a filler word just like any curse word, “um”, or the overly used, “like”. Words used to easily fill an area of speach that has left them.

  481. Lydia -  August 12, 2010 - 9:54 am

    If “ain’t” isn’t considered valid becuase it’s not a standard contraction, they why do people accept that “will+not=won’t?”

  482. Chelsea -  August 12, 2010 - 9:52 am

    I believe that it should be accepted as a common word. I say ain’t in everyday speech.

  483. Kristen Nicole -  August 12, 2010 - 9:40 am

    I suppose there are a lot of words used in everyday conversation that are considered poor English, but ain’t is still commonly used. If it’s so widespread, for this long, it must be a word. We’ll have to get over it, leave it to preference, or spin it with a British accent. That makes everything sound proper, right? ;)

  484. Alex.w -  August 12, 2010 - 9:37 am

    So many other words come about from the improper pronunciation of other words; if ain’t so happens to be the word that gives the desired effect, then that’s that.

  485. John Brown -  August 12, 2010 - 9:15 am

    The great R&B group,The Temptations produced a song entittled: “Ain”t too
    proud to beg” it caused millions of teachers to cringed upon hearing their students sing the words to that song.

  486. Lee H. -  August 12, 2010 - 9:10 am

    It’s a colloquialism: used intentionally-at times-in everyday speech, written dialogue and common aphorisms, but bad grammar when used always as a substitute for a standard contraction.
    President Obama would not use “ain’t” in an address to the nation except in one of the above instances.
    So, yeah it’s a word, but ignorant usage as a universal substitute and quasi-illiterate.

  487. Milo -  August 12, 2010 - 9:07 am

    Like the article said, “ain’t” is a dialectical difference. We don’t say that Brits are wrong because they spell center “centre”, obviously a remnant of the Norman Invasion, nor Americans because we spell it “center.” It’s a regional evolution of the English language.

    The only problem with evolution of the language is that it is generally frowned upon because it was “standardized” a few hundred years ago, which retards the process as a whole. So changes to the standard are usually seen as incorrect by grammar nazis. Take, for example, the archaic use of the subjunctive in English. It’s almost extinct because it’s no longer important in our language, but a few people hold onto it and will correct those who don’t use it because it is the standard.

  488. Keith George -  August 12, 2010 - 9:00 am

    You ain’t never gonna catch me using it. Actually, it’s in the title of my new novel: “Maybe This Ain’t Heaven”

  489. Darci -  August 12, 2010 - 8:55 am

    No. It’s bad English. “I seen…” is also widely used, and is also incorrect.

  490. Bill -  August 12, 2010 - 8:49 am

    I never fully understood the controversy. “Ain’t” is fine in everyday speech. It doesn’t belong in formal writing, but then again, neither do most other contractions (won’t, isn’t, etc).

  491. Marisa -  August 12, 2010 - 8:44 am

    I don’t think it, personally, that “ain’t is a proper word, unless it is used as a quote, or you are trying to recapture a historical quality such as the early Americans of the frontier. But, it’s funny because it brings back memories such as, “‘Ain’t’ ain’t a word unless you use ain’t in a sentence three times!”

  492. Judy -  August 12, 2010 - 8:37 am

    I cannot stand to hear someone use the word “ain’t”! When I was in school, we had proper English instilled in us every day. I am so grateful that is how our school teachers were. The older (68) I get, the more critical I am of how people are speaking. Another word that seems to be used more and more is “done”. That drives me crazy too! Like…”Are you done”? It is supposed to be…”Are you finished”?

  493. BML -  August 12, 2010 - 8:32 am

    The only real measure of validity for a word is usage. The word is widely used, the overwhelming majority of English speakers know exactly what it means, and it is much older than many “accepted” words we use today. “Ain’t” is a valid word and has been for well over a century. Anyone who says otherwise just ain’t right.

  494. The VOICE -  August 12, 2010 - 8:29 am

    The word “ain’t” just iddn’t acceptable. : )

  495. Addie -  August 12, 2010 - 8:19 am

    There is really no use fighting the use of the word ain’t. Sure it is not the most proper sounding word, but it is perfectly acceptable.

  496. NoLo -  August 12, 2010 - 8:10 am

    If you say it with your “pinkie” extended, it’s a proper word. If you say it while chewing on a piece of straw, it is bad grammar. Or so someone with their pinkie extended told me.

  497. Christina -  August 12, 2010 - 8:02 am

    Judging by the number of responses of people who do not even take the time to proof-read their responses, I would say that none of you are qualified on what is or is not proper English. Yes, the word “ain’t” is commonly used by some native speakers of English, however that does not mean that it should be incorporated into English as acceptable speech.

  498. Amy -  August 12, 2010 - 7:58 am

    No. It makes the speaker sound ignorant. I agree that it is considered bad English.

  499. David -  August 12, 2010 - 7:56 am

    I think “ain’t” should be considered a real word with a dictionary posting. But it should also be noted as primarily colloquial.

  500. Misty -  August 12, 2010 - 7:55 am

    Why fight it? The word “ain’t” has been widely used for well over 100 years. Those who still hang on to old ways of fighting the natural progression of language may as well argue that we ought to continue to speak in grunts and groans since no words are proper at all since all words are invented by the human mind, human culture, and the development of these throughout time. In short, there ain’t nothing wrong with change in our good language.

  501. Jess -  August 12, 2010 - 7:45 am

    All languages evolve. Each language changes with the common usage by the current people. It happens for many reasons, new ideas or thoughts necessitate a new word be invented, a merging of cultures adopting and melding some words, accents or dialects cause words to sound different. Bury is one that in many areas is pronounced “berry” though the true pronunciation is “burry”. In the daily emails I receive from this website I can see how one word has evolved from a Latin or French word and sometimes is far less recognizable. To me, ain’t is just one of those words. I do not use it myself unless I am joking or quoting something specific, and when I hear it used normally it feels like an ignorant word, though it is not. It simply has bad connotations. I think that in years or decades or centuries to come, ain’t is going to become part of the language whether we like it or not.

  502. Linus -  August 12, 2010 - 7:37 am

    If it’s understood, why fix it?

  503. Bird the Celt -  August 12, 2010 - 7:37 am

    “Ain’t” exists in the spoken use of the language. The dictionary reflects what people say, and should maintain the common, albeit not always pretty language. We can find words equally absurd but “ain’t” garners controversy for some reason. And, it’s a true contraction that won’t go away, whether or not it is accepted by the so-called authority on language.

  504. Danny -  August 12, 2010 - 7:31 am

    Consider such “words” as “vittles,” “varmint,” and “webinar.” Some words are perfectly acceptable to some people in some settings, but not in others. Would you offer to take a client out to “fetch some vittles”? Not likely. But does that make such usage incorrect? I say “no.” How about obscenities? Are they words, even though they shouldn’t be used in polite society? Some words irk certain individuals, and such words are not part of such individuals’ personal vocabularies. “Webinar” is such a word for me. I refuse to use it. I do not deny its right to exist as a word. “Ain’t” is a word, plain and simple. The fact that I wouldn’t use it in any “proper” setting doesn’t mean that it’s not a word.

  505. David Brookes -  August 12, 2010 - 7:25 am

    Despite being able to trace it back to its origin, it still isn’t a ‘proper’ contraction. “Isn’t” is clearly “is not”. The same goes for all the other accepted contractions. “Ain’t” just doesn’t fit, and feels lazy, so I don’t think it should be treated as a true word.

    On the other hand, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to use it! There’s nothing wrong with dialect, even if dialectal words don’t make it into the dictionary. “Ain’t” is far more wide-reaching than mere dialect words, but still. I wouldn’t expect our Yorkshire (England) version of “Alright” to be in the dictionary – it just ain’t proper to see “Oreight?” in there!

  506. Joe -  August 12, 2010 - 7:20 am

    there ain’t nothing wrong with ain’t, if anyone thinks so they ain’t smart at all

  507. Charlie -  August 12, 2010 - 7:17 am

    I hope nobody has said this before because I don’t want to repeat someone else’s contribution that I might have missed. It depends on context. Its sure enough an acceptable word in everyday conversation. But it sure enough ain’t (haha) in formal discourse, such as a public speech or academic paper (unless one is using it for a particular purpose).

  508. Kyle -  August 12, 2010 - 6:58 am

    Oh, it is quite necessary for any sort of sub-standard speech patterns for southern characters in novels and other literary works. If it were standardized as a word then it would cause that word to be correct and they could not pass as an uneducated folk. Also, can you imagine the repercussion with the joke, “Ain’t ain’t a word and you ain’t supposed to say it, say ain’t five times and you ain’t going to heaven.” What then!? Can you imagine the playground atmosphere without that joke? Heresy.

  509. Carolyn -  August 12, 2010 - 6:55 am

    Ain’t can be used in every day speech, but it should be BANISHED from the essay. Also, just because “ain’t” is accepted colloquial, it does not mean it can be used for a double negative.
    “Ain’t got nothing,” means that you HAVE something.
    “Ain’t supposed to do nothing,” means that you have to DO something.
    “Ain’t understanding nothing,” means that you DO understand.
    So, essays and double negatives, no “ain’t” allowed. But every day speech like, “It ain’t raining,” is ok.

  510. Buck -  August 12, 2010 - 6:40 am

    Anyone who sees ain’t as an improper or ugly word is telling more about themselves that whoever they hear it from. In other words, they ain’t got a lick of sense.

  511. Tiffany -  August 12, 2010 - 6:22 am

    I don’t think it’s proper, or professional, but I do think it’s acceptable in the mordern-day English language.

  512. Phreak Nation -  August 12, 2010 - 6:18 am

    I do not think “ain’t” should be because it is considered a slang word. I think there should be a second dictionary with all the slang words in it that are the non standard English words. If we do add in ain’t then why not go ahead and start letting in common texting, short hand, phrases like “cuz” or “rly”. I know it is not exactly the same but it will eventually lead to it when texting is more common place than it is today. How about we add in “lol” everyone uses it. I have even seen older folks use lol. I use every one of these words on a regular basis, but I do not think a slang word should be added in as a standard common English word. Just my two cents.

  513. ABraund -  August 12, 2010 - 6:15 am

    If we should accept “ain’t” in our language because it’s widely used, then does that mean we should accept the commonly used terms “gay” and “retarded” to describe lame or stupid things? Does the frequency of use warrant acceptance into proper English language?

  514. Joy Smith -  August 12, 2010 - 5:42 am

    What the heck! If people want to use ‘ain’t’ as a word, why stop them? Just as long as people know what you mean, of course. Gramatically correct language never did impress me; I would rather talk to someone who can get the message across without all the flowery language

  515. mocha mama, phd -  August 12, 2010 - 5:33 am

    If bootylicious is a “real word,” then ain’t is a “real word.” If I use it–it’s real.

  516. Nina -  August 12, 2010 - 5:33 am

    The origins of the word come from earlier on. Shakespeare already used it and as far as I know he wrote before the 18th century ;)
    The reason why this word is not accepted in grammar is because, for one, nowadays there is no such thing as an organization that regulates the English language as there is for Spanish (Real Academia de la Lengua) or French (Académie Française) or many others…therefore it is difficult to establish what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ within a language when there is no one regulating it. Secondly, back then, this word was not used by the dialect that had the power. The first publishing houses and prints originated in Cambridge and London and in these areas ‘Ain’t’ was not used. It was certainly used in other regions of the country but these were not cities but the countryside with no power or money to have the influence to get published in their English variety. Therefore, the variety of English that was used as the Standard was the one for these rich regions that had the influence over the publishing houses. ‘Ain’t’ did not access that status and it has always been treated as marginal although writers such as Shakespeare (who wrote for many the royalty) used it. It is just a matter of picking a variety over another. If the publishing houses and the people with money at the time had been from a country where ‘Ain’t’ was used then this word would now be totally accepted.

    [I majored in English Philology and a MA in Linguistics]

  517. Charlie Beckers -  August 12, 2010 - 5:31 am

    The question is NOT: “Is ain’t a word?” It is clearly a word, by any definition. The question is: “Is ain’t a grammatically proper word?” The question of proper grammar came up for discussion in my freshman English class some 50 years ago (students were required to take freshman English in those days). I distinctly recall the professor’s definition of proper English (paraphrased as follows): Proper English is English as used by the most highly educated people in the largest city of the nation. As fumbling freshmen, no one in the class chose to question that, but I can now see a number of flaws in his assertion. For example, in the specific case of English, what is the largest city in the English-speaking nation (notice that’s nation, not country)…London, New York, New Delhi, some other?

  518. Ed -  August 12, 2010 - 4:49 am

    What about b’aint?

  519. Friday -  August 12, 2010 - 4:08 am

    Ain’t, is a word!!

  520. KC -  August 12, 2010 - 3:59 am

    To our linguistically-challenged friend Eman: ‘it’s still not a logical grammatical contraction’. So you never ever say ‘won’t'?

    Oh, and anyone who says ‘ain’t’ isn’t a word doesn’t know what a word actually is.

  521. t turner -  August 12, 2010 - 3:31 am

    It’s like going nude – when you are taught from childhood that it wrong, it is hard to except and one is embarrassed by it later in life.

  522. Jonathan -  August 12, 2010 - 3:27 am

    Chillax, ginormous, def, tubular… these are all words accepted and put into the Oxford English Dictionary in the past twenty years. While these words annoy me, they are words. The beauty of the English language is it’s ability to adapt and change. Words come into favor and words die. “Shan’t” was used up to a few decades ago, but now is seldom used. “Whom” is now another nearly dead word. It is a rare grammarian that still gets into a fuss when “who” is substituted for “whom”. All words are merely a set of symbols we’ve come to agree have certain sounds and when arranged in a certain order have meaning. Ain’t is just another word. We all know what it means and if it contains meaning then it ought to be accepted as a word. Furthermore, “ain’t” has a far more definitive meaning than the “f-bomb.” The f-bomb has become the be all end all word, sadly filling in the vocabulary gap of many English speakers. If “ain’t” is a lazy-mans word, then what is the f-bomb?

  523. Colm -  August 12, 2010 - 2:11 am

    I use “Amn’t” all the time, and so does the rest of my family and relatives! But only when speaking, it’s never written. “Ain’t” is really an american only thing.

  524. Justin Time -  August 12, 2010 - 1:52 am

    p.s. Erin=> I think we should be friends.

  525. Justin Time -  August 12, 2010 - 1:47 am

    Honestly, worse than the whole “ain’t” thing is a generation that doesn’t get contractions At All. I dated a girl that never understood the concept of “should have,” “would have,” or “could have,” and instead texts I should OF done this or you should OF done this . . . .tragic.

  526. Alan Turner -  August 12, 2010 - 1:00 am

    Over fifty years ago Pat Boone was singing “Ain’t that a shame”

  527. Marion Crane -  August 11, 2010 - 11:53 pm

    “We ain’t got any milk left.”

    I would have pegged that as a contraction of “We haven’t got any milk left” rather than “do not”. Or is this a UK/USA thing again?

  528. Darrin -  August 11, 2010 - 11:05 pm

    If Webster’s is willing to allow gamer speak such as w00t (that’s right, spelled with two zeroes) to be considered a word; then I see no reason for ain’t not to be considered an acceptable part of the English language. Granted I understand some of the arguments against the acceptability of ain’t on the basis that it is slang, however even slang is often acceptable regionally (i.e. y’all in much of the south, yinz though that seems specific only to Pittsburgh, PA, and many other regionally accepted slang terms). Regardless of how long ain’t has been around, or how many people may believe its usage is on the way out, I belive ain’t is going to be around for quite a while.

  529. Shruti Chandra Gupta -  August 11, 2010 - 10:46 pm

    Language picks up words from popular usage and changes itself. English itself is a pickle of many languages. But then, people like to own up languages like cars.

    Thumbs up for ain’t.

  530. joe -  August 11, 2010 - 10:17 pm

    i dunno… on one hand, i think that ain’t is not a REAL word… cause it gets underlined in red whenever i type it on word… but people use it all the time…. so i guess it could be a real word

  531. Mary Kate -  August 11, 2010 - 10:14 pm

    Language is based on usage. If people use it often, it’s a word, whether it’s proper or not. I would classify “ain’t” as slang and leave it at that. I can’t imagine why people care so much about one word. It’s not even offensive or anything.

  532. Zachary Overline -  August 11, 2010 - 10:03 pm

    When we were kids, we used to say, “Ain’t ain’t a word and I ain’t gonna’ say it. Say “ain’t” five times and you ain’t goin’ to heaven.”

    … yeah, we were hicks.

  533. gloria -  August 11, 2010 - 9:25 pm

    What is a word anyway? It clothes a thought…..and thought derives from an essence. While schooled in what is right and wrong……I have steered clear of ain’t. But now upon reflection, should I discriminate against essence? Believe I will lighten up and be more open. That just feels good!!

  534. Brian -  August 11, 2010 - 8:49 pm

    I suppose I could accpt “ain’t” as a word, however, I cannot, will not, WON’T accept exspecially nor expresso. The proper pronunciation is ESPECIALLY and ESPRESSO!!! Get it right people!

  535. Don -  August 11, 2010 - 8:44 pm

    Hard to argue that a word that’s been in common use since the 18th century ain’t really a word.

  536. dragon quest -  August 11, 2010 - 8:29 pm

    I ain’t complaining. I ain’t a beef. I ain’t somebody. I ain’t in the past. I ain’t sucking any whatever. I ain’t pinching any dime off the collecting plate. I ain’t planning anything yet. I ain’t in a jam. I ain’t an atheist. The usage of ain’t is only proper to the subject of the first person: that what I have learned at school. I personally use the word ain’t in any occasion. I wonder how the expression stated in the nagative way can be translate into those in the affirmative and convey same meanings.

  537. Anna -  August 11, 2010 - 8:09 pm

    “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone….”

  538. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  August 11, 2010 - 7:42 pm

    And having so-suggested, I’ll append that the Hebrew has two similar vowels:

    1. The Aleph, which is more a semi-vowel glottal-stop accent-indicator;


    2. The Ayin, which used-to-be a strong near-gutteral ‘contorted’ sound:

    …and is probably where the sound was heard to become an acquired skill…

  539. Flamestar -  August 11, 2010 - 7:36 pm

    There was a bunch of busybodies at the beginning of the last century who wanted to make the US classier. They went on three wrong headed crusades; they achieved their goals, but were proven wrong. The wanted probation and passed an amendment banning the sale of alcohol, they hated the Wizard of OZ and got the book banned from libraries and schools, and they wanted to eradicate the word ain’t.

  540. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  August 11, 2010 - 7:31 pm

    oops … -is- a class….

  541. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  August 11, 2010 - 7:29 pm

    Though I’m not promoting this, There are a class of words that sing-song better in English, -dare we suggest, active, words, in lieu of passive:–


    We’d sing, “When will I know?” rather than “When am I going to learn?”

    We’d sing, “Ain’t she sweet?” rather than “Is she not sweet?”

    Although it’s not easy to say how “ain’t” is active rather than passive, It certainly sing-songs more forcibly-active….


  542. Dano -  August 11, 2010 - 7:14 pm

    If a tomato is technically a fruit, I guess “ain’t” technically can be a word.

    Personally, I ain’t buying into either one

  543. T Thorough -  August 11, 2010 - 6:38 pm

    I am a stickler when it comes to typing, spelling and pronunciating the English language. I use ain’t all the time and have to reword my sentences when I talk because it’s so common to say and I’m very adamant about speaking correctly. The word aint has been brainwashed into everyones head it has become second nature. I’m wishing someone would do us all a favor and induct it into the dictionary, I’ve absolutely had it with the debate.

  544. Chloe -  August 11, 2010 - 6:22 pm

    As a young teenager, i have to disagree. I’ve always been taught strickly by my dad to use correct grammer, at all times, but he’s a highly educated lawyer who grew up in britin. So he was raised, so to speake, by the “core” of the english language an thus so were my siblings, who would chew me out( the youngest) when i picked up southern frases from school. I hear the word ain’t pretty much 24/7, living in the “sticks” of the south.
    I don’t think the word ain’t is worthy of acceptance in common speech. I look at it as more of a “lazy mans” word used by people who are simpley too lazy to speake correctly and that it down grades oneself, announcing that you don’t care if it not only sounds bad isn’t appart of old english language. It’s, more or less, slang to me.i do correct my friends on its useage, and they stop and reword what they said, showing me that they are capable of speaking corect english, but find it okay to just chop out a few words inspite of how they were taught, because i know every english teacher at my school, also do not consider this the proper way to speake.

  545. Mike -  August 11, 2010 - 6:13 pm

    Many of you are invoking the “language changes over time” scenario to validate the word, but your reasoning is in reverse.

    If anything, “ain’t” is an outdated word on its way out of the common lexicon, while “google” (v.), “lol” and others are new words coming in.

    It seems logical to assume that “ain’t” came about centuries ago when contracting everything was in vogue. Shakespeare did it all the time. But we don’t all walk around saying “shan’t” anymore, right?

    Even in the American south, where the word “ain’t”, stereotypically speaking, gained the most acceptance, most Americans arguably are making an effort NOT to use it anymore.

    There seems to be a lot of non-native English speakers browsing this site and it would be doing them an injustice to call “ain’t” proper English.

  546. soren -  August 11, 2010 - 6:05 pm

    Although a word is widely accepted to be used in every day speech, why should it be then considered an actual word? Why not use the original described in the text above? (Hain’t) People make up words, should we use them as well and continue to rape this once graceful language?

  547. Patricia Smith -  August 11, 2010 - 5:51 pm

    It is a simple explanation for the truth of the matter. It either is or it “Ain’t”.

  548. Abi -  August 11, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    The word “ain’t” is definitely used enough–daily–that it should be considered a word. Besides, I am seriously getting tired of my English teacher telling me: “Ain’t ain’t a word!”

  549. emily -  August 11, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    It is commonly known as slang, and although my friends and I sometimes use it for fun, I think that aint should not be accepted unless it is accepeted by grammar teachers everywhere. Maybe it should be used, maybe it shouldn’t, but only America can decide.

  550. Austin -  August 11, 2010 - 5:32 pm

    If you’re going to deny the validity of the word Ain’t, you must also throw out can’t, won’t, aren’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, doesn’t, you’re, they’re, we’re, etc.

    It’s a contraction, nothing more. Everybody knows what it means, many people use it. Many people avoid using it, for fear of sounding ignorant, because they’ve been TOLD that it’s not a word, by somebody who OBVIOUSLY doesn’t understand the concept of words in the first place…

    It’s a word, if maybe one with a huge stigma attached.

  551. Kailin -  August 11, 2010 - 5:25 pm

    Well, I PERSONALLY think that “ain’t” is UNofficially a word… It’s more like slang. Even though its used very often, it’s still incorrect grammar.
    Ok, if you disagree with what I’m saying, think of this: Your English teacher probably has used it before… But, is it in your grammar book? Nope -.- Not really, huh?
    And think of this also: If “AIN’T” were to be a real word why is there isn’t or aren’t?

    I personally think that maybe it started way back and some ppl with their accent said something like ain’t instead of the correct pronunciation of arent. You get what i mean?

    In addition to all this idk, “crap” and controversy about a word, i think this is a foofaraw! A useless, idiotic, or insignificant fight, or argument over a little word…
    Just title it as slang and everyone would be happy

  552. AIN’T | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 11, 2010 - 5:23 pm

    [...] Good Buy? — “It ain’t necessarily so.” But we’re a little bit slow, Ain’t we?–>>Rupert [...]

  553. Sydney -  August 11, 2010 - 5:07 pm

    Who knew that this word would cause such an uproar? Words only have a negative connotation because we apply that opinion. Words should not define our intelligence level or place us into a specific persona. But its the only way we know due to our upbringing as judging creatures. That’s incredibly unfortunate.

  554. Sally -  August 11, 2010 - 5:03 pm

    No!! “Ain’t ain’t a word, and I ain’t gonna use it!” The word is downright illy used English. It is a slang word, but should not be concidered one of the ‘proper’ contractions.

  555. J. Connelly -  August 11, 2010 - 4:58 pm

    I think if we just went ahead and established it as an official word, however low-class it was considered, it would lighten the burden on many high school teachers forced to correct their students every time they used the word

  556. TJ -  August 11, 2010 - 4:44 pm

    To me it comes down to this, if it has a communal understanding then it’s a word. Words are nothing more than imaginary labels to facilitate communication between individuals. That is to say, outside of your head words, or even letters for that matter have no meaning what so ever. As long as both individuals in the conversation understand what is meant by the word there isn’t really a problem.

    To me, anyone who can sit around arguing about whether or not a word is really a word or not, really has far to much time on their hands and should really consider doing something constructive and useful instead.

  557. Nathan -  August 11, 2010 - 3:53 pm

    Ain’t is a word, nonetheless. It is used today, it has meaning, and once upon a time, it was actually used as a valid contraction!

    That said, like many words, it is not appropriate in every circumstance. Those using standard written English (SWE) should refrain from using it as well as in any academic or professional envioronment where the way we express our ideas is just as important as what we are saying.

    I do not think that this is evidence of the sloppiness or laziness of the language or of any nation’s use of language nor of any nation in general.

    On the contrary, any word in a living language that is actively provoking such heated debate is a full participatory mechanism of thatlanguage and sits as a centerpiece for our debates between its users and its would-be prohibitors. It is not being lazy or sloppy at all. It is simply defining how we use our language. That process of defining is what identifies us as a culture.

  558. blog addict -  August 11, 2010 - 3:50 pm

    I disagree with allowing some authority decide what is a “real word” or not. All major dictionaries add new words on a regular basis, and it’s common for people to accept those new words as “real”, because it’s “official”. I don’t care if some supposed authority on the English language says a word is slang instead of “real”. “Ain’t” is a real word because it is very widely used and understood.

  559. Taylor -  August 11, 2010 - 3:48 pm

    If “Google” is a verb for search on a web browser, then “ain’t” should be a word too.

  560. Mark -  August 11, 2010 - 3:46 pm

    I don’t see what all the commotion is for, ‘Ain’t’ is a perfectly cromulent word.

  561. Jeff Jones -  August 11, 2010 - 3:36 pm

    i personally believe that the english language should be split in half into british-english and american-english. “see a fag on the telly within the lift” means “look at the cigarettes on tv inside the elevator.” Just like portugese and spanish, spanish and italian, italian and greek, etc. american and english should be two similar but different languages. and in the AMERICAN english dictionary, aint would be in there.

  562. Erin -  August 11, 2010 - 8:24 am

    If you look back over the years, languages develop. They accept more words into their vocabulary. All of you who are saying that it’s wrong or invalid should think about the words you use everyday. Go back 200 years or so and I’m sure they didn’t use all of them then, does that mean they are not valid words either?
    The world changes, and so does the language. Ain’t is widely used, and widely accepted. Hit songs have been made form that word ‘Ain’t that a shame’ for example.
    and really, there are far more rediculous things in the dictionary already. Far too many abbreviations have been put in there along with the actual word in a different place! What is the point? Maybe that is a more worthy cause to be fighting against than a new word?

    If you don’t like the word, don’t use it, simple as that. But for all of us who DO use it, why should we have to be made to feel bad about it just because you still live in the past? things change, and if a word AIN’T broke, don’t fix it!

  563. James Harrison -  August 11, 2010 - 8:07 am

    It’s an ugly word if a word it is. Only when BBC newsreaders start using it will I consider it part of my vocabulary. Otherwise I think it just makes me sound thick.

  564. Paul -  August 11, 2010 - 8:06 am

    It should count as a word, as it falls under the definition of a word.

  565. Brittany -  August 11, 2010 - 8:05 am

    One other point:

    Just because a word is not in Webster’s doesn’t mean it is not a “real” word. After read the following definition for word as taken off of this site, I think you will agree that the question at hand has technically already been answered by it’s definition:

    Word (noun): a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

    1) Is “Ain’t” a unit of language?
    2) Does “Ain’t” consist of one or more spoken sounds or written representation?
    3) Can “Ain’t” function as a principal carrier of meaning?

    You conclude.

  566. BOB Mae -  August 11, 2010 - 7:59 am

    I ain’t letting ain’t be a word

  567. Thomas -  August 11, 2010 - 7:57 am

    Word- (n) a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

    By the definition of the word, word, ain’t is a word. Words are a way of communicating thoughts and ideas to others. People understand what others mean when they say ain’t, so people do get the definition of ain’t whether they want to say that it is a word or not. A string of letters like sjaldkh represents nothing in the English language, therefore not a word, but ain’t does carry a meaning, and it is a unit of language that consists of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation.

  568. Brittany -  August 11, 2010 - 7:57 am

    I think there is a time and place to use the word “Ain’t”. But I do not disagree with using it altogether. “Ain’t” is one of those expressions that can add emotion and feeling and portray the speaker’s affect at the time it is spoken. Think of this scenario of an angry woman who has found that her husband has been cheating. While he is walking out of the door, which do you think shows more feeling? 1) You are not going anywhere mister. -or- 2) YOU AIN’T GOING NOWHERE MISTER!!!! Yes, I know option 2 is a double negative. But, the tone/feeling is completely different no matter how loud you were to say the first phrase. Also, I think words like “Ain’t” show our diversity as the word is often used heavily in certain subdialects and regions of our nation. It’s a form of adapting your speech to the situation at hand and the listener who you are trying to convey a message to. The word could make some cringe when others say it, because of their classification of it as improper altogether, or it could make others feel that you are down-to-earth and not stuck-up if you use it. It just goes to show that every language has it’s slang words and made-up words used by millions to communicate ideas to others, and those others understand perfectly fine. We don’t always have to be prim and proper. There is a time and a place for everything. And, coming from the South, we will never stop using “Ain’t” -lol. And I am well aware of and do use proper grammar. It doesn’t mean you are any less intelligent, you just adapt your speech according to your audience and settings.

  569. kc2 -  August 11, 2010 - 7:56 am

    Many of you are getting hung up on something that is not the topic of discussion. The grammatical validity of “ain’t” is not the question posed here. The origin of who uses “ain’t” first or used most often is also not the question at hand.

    The question is “Do you think “ain’t” is a real word, worthy of acceptance in common speech? Let us know, below.”

    Key phrase in that question “…acceptance in common speech…”

    There are several words in the english language that are not acceptable for use in formal writing or formal oratational settings for example.

    A Lawyer would not tell a judge in open court the “My client was shot in the ass” but “ass” is a word accepted in common speech.

    When writing formally its not proper grammer to use any type of contraction or colloquialisms, however all contractions and colloquialisms are accepted into common speech.

    So do I think that “ain’t” is a real word, worthy of acceptance in common speech? I would most certainly have to answer YES.

  570. thebluebird11 -  August 11, 2010 - 7:54 am

    My mom was a teacher with a Master’s degree in English, and we’re from New York City. If I wanted to get smacked, all I had to do was have something like “ain’t” pop out of my mouth. Still, it’s certainly a word, by all definitions of what a word is.
    As a child, I know I also started out saying “amn’t,” until I was corrected. As an adult, instead of saying “I amn’t going,” I say “I’m not going” (which is easier to say and a whole lot more acceptable). I still miss being able to use “amn’t,” since it’s a logical contraction of “am not.” I believe the word should be accepted in regular speech but amn’t on a personal crusade about it.
    OTOH, “ain’t,” when used as a substitute for “isn’t,” is not logical. It seems to be a further shortening of “isn’t” to “in’t,” (which, missing the S in the middle, should probably be “i’n't,” which is ridiculous), and then being pronounced with a twang to it. Maybe it’s just laziness, that people lost the S-sound in “isn’t.” So maybe it started out as “He in’t going,” and got pronounced as “He ain’t going.” (It’s almost as if the E in He and the I in in’t immediately following it, slurred the E-I sound into an “Ay” sound, and what you ended up with was “ain’t”). Another word that is close to ain’t is “innit,” as in, “Innit the truth?”
    Why is it that we can accept “isn’t” (and other contractions) as words, but we can’t accept other forms that leave out other letters (like S)? We all know what ain’t and innit mean. For some reason, The Powers That Be have decreed some contractions acceptable, and others not.
    Practically speaking, my advice would be that if you’re among people who aren’t judging you (or about to smack you), go ahead and use any words you want (including Ell-Oh-Ell), but if you’re applying for college or a job, or if you’ll be smacked for using non-standard English, stick to the acceptable stuff.

  571. Ali -  August 11, 2010 - 7:52 am

    ditto Nasty Habit’s comment!

    I cannot stand “ain’t”, it just goes to show how sloppy we are fast becomming as a nation.

    What a shame far too few people are being brought up to learn (and to teach) “correct” and “proper” English.

    When I hear people say it in the street, it’s like finger nails down a blackboard! yeuch!

  572. Shaun -  August 11, 2010 - 7:50 am

    “Ain’t” is just like “irregardless”. Just because it’s used, doesn’t make them right.

  573. Becky -  August 11, 2010 - 7:46 am

    Like it says above it is a work but it ain’t proper English.

  574. Mark -  August 11, 2010 - 7:30 am

    If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, was derived from other ducks like a duck, functions and is used like a duck… what is it?

    “Ain’t” is a duck wether you like it or not, trivialities be damned.

  575. Maddy -  August 11, 2010 - 7:10 am

    Nobody argues “Ain’t” as a colloquialism, do they?

    It ain’t broke -don’t fix it.

  576. Lauren -  August 11, 2010 - 7:10 am

    It’s a very commonly used word indeed. So why not make ‘ain’t’ a word. I use it all the time! And when most people say
    “Well ain’t ain’t a word!”
    Well that, that just gets me. But ain’t should be a word. :)

  577. Nasty Habit -  August 11, 2010 - 7:06 am

    Just because a word is widely used does not justify its validation. On the other hand, if this dictionary, and probably every other dictionary, gives permission to use the word “myself” in a manner that would have been deemed incorrect twenty years or so ago, then there’s nothing wrong with “ain’t.”

    People are afraid of misusing “me,” so they use “myself.” “Ain’t” in some instances is used as a shocker, an attention-getter. If used often enough it becomes second-nature and loses it shock value. That doesn’t make it right. Frequent improper use of “myself” by entertainers and so-called intellectuals snuck a new meaning into its definition. In breaking the sentence down, one finds that “myself” is awkwardly used.

    Bottom line: Remove “ain’t” from the dictionary and restore “myself” to its proper place.

  578. Duaa -  August 11, 2010 - 7:01 am

    please omit the last line

  579. Duaa -  August 11, 2010 - 7:00 am

    I’ve always considered it wrong or rather slang….
    Even in the above example; ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet..’ something feels
    weird, improper or simply incorrect.
    I don’t believe ain’t is an exceptable word. There are some words that can be rather said in regular conversation than written.
    Just think about it, many people say ‘nothin’, ‘tellin’ etc, quite normally even though it’s incorrect usage. But in writing down [maybe a letter], they’re not given leave to express themselves so informally.
    You see my point ?
    So just because “ain’t” is very commonly ‘said’..[Only my opinion here], i don’t think it should be a given a place in the dictionary.
    Otherwise, room should be made for ‘nothin’ and ‘tellin’ too.
    However, it is very commonly used by kids as well as adults. Th

  580. Chris Coyle -  August 11, 2010 - 6:58 am

    It’s okay to use ain’t in those popularized sayings because those are used in a joking manner. But ain’t shouldn’t be used in normal speech, especially in a work or business setting. On the other hand… Language is fluid and changes over the course of time, or can even have a sudden dramatic change. Meanings shift gradually and new words, like email, are invented to describe something new. I’m 50 years old. I was taught not to use ain’t, even reprimanded for using it. I’m not going to start now. But because it’s so commonly used now, I think it’s okay for it to be adopted into the english lexicon.

  581. shruti -  August 11, 2010 - 6:41 am


  582. Niki -  August 11, 2010 - 6:40 am

    I’ve always been under the impression that ain’t was only “correct” when used to replace “am not”.

    That said, I still think it’s reached the point that it ought to be accepted into the language.

  583. Cynthia Miller -  August 11, 2010 - 6:35 am

    What everybody does or say, doesn’t mean that is right! or that we have to accept it. This sounds awful. I hate it actually. I learned formal language, that is not written English. Teachers shouldn’t use it.

  584. isabel cooper -  August 11, 2010 - 6:33 am

    Like most colloquialisms, it is acceptable in speech, if suited to occasion, and in writing, if to demonstrate the upbringing, social class, etc of a particular protagonist, however, this does not qualify it for a dictionary position since it remains a colloquialism, not a word.
    I’m not negating its power as a word and certainly it, and similar words (bain’t etc) have been used to great effect. I do however persist in my argument that it is not (<nb, in formal(ish)writing this is the expected form?)a WORD.

    And in response to Amruta, phrases such as 'bare jokes', 'cool beans', and 'frape' are widely used (well, perhaps the first 2 are restricted to Essex!) but that doesn't make them grammatically correct, or in the case of the latter, a REAL word! :)

  585. SoLaR~OiL -  August 11, 2010 - 6:14 am