The Negation Of Being?

Do any of you say, “Are I?”
Thought not.

Would any of you say, “Are I not?”
Not likely is it? (Personally I would say, “Am I not?”)

Then why do we hear people say, “Aren’t I?”

It’s a horrible construction, ugly and ungrammatical. [In the jargon of grammatical discourse, the subject fails to agree in number with its verb; in plainer terms it combines a plural verb with a singular noun.]
And I hate it.

None of the characters in my fiction has ever uttered the phrase. If I had my way they never would. (Unfortunately, there will come a time when one has to because of who they’re supposed to be and where they’re supposed to come from. But I’ll still hate it.)

Where I was brought up the suitably grammatical phrase, “Amn’t I?” performed the function perfectly.

I do not expect it to catch on.



Comments RSS feed for this post

  1. doctorvee

    Chambers lists “amn’t” as a Scots word.

  2. Martin McCallion

    One hundred percent agreement, sir!

  3. Bigrab

    Tut! tut!

    Don’t you know the correct construction is ‘Um urny’

  4. jackdeighton

    Yes Rab, the conjugation of the verb not to be in West Scots is:-

    “Ahm no’, ah’m nut, and ahm urnae.
    We’re no’, we’re nut and we urnae.
    They’re no’, they’re nut and they urnae.”

    (Extract from an old Dumbarton Academy School Show.)

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