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Is this phrase grammatically correct?

Is you is or is you ain't my baby?

It's from a Tom and Jerry cartoon: http://vimeo.com/40283242 (at 1:30, 2:00 and 3:00).

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marked as duplicate by John Lawler, MετάEd, Bradd Szonye, Matt Эллен, Kristina Lopez May 28 '13 at 0:32

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1:30, 2:00 and 3:00. All the lyrics are handily subtitled, and are all similar AAVE-type dialect. It sounds like Louis Armstrong. –  Andrew Leach May 26 '13 at 12:42
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It's well discussed on this page stancarey.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/… –  Stan May 26 '13 at 12:46
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1 Answer 1

It's a 1944 song sung by blues singers, jazz vocalists, & pop singers from the mid-20th century. Sounds more like Fats Waller than Louis Armstrong.

The Wikipedia article says "The phrase 'Is you is or is you ain't' is dialect, apparently first recorded in a 1921 story by Octavus Roy Cohen, a Jewish writer from South Carolina who wrote humorous black dialect fiction."

It's not grammatical standard English, but it's not intended to be. It's a song lyric.

The link to the blog post about grammaticality in Stan's comment is a really good one, so I'm copying it for this answer.

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