English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How dissimilar are "they're not" and "they aren't"?
Is it dependent on context or are these exactly the same?

They are supposed to be going, but they are not.
They are not going.

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

These are pretty much equivalent. If you desire to place more emphasis on the negative, use "They're not."

share|improve this answer
I think the difference is more a verbal tic than anything else. When I speak I usually contract the first two words (They're not vs. they aren't, it's not vs. it isn't) etc. When writing I do the opposite. – Yitzchak Mar 2 '11 at 18:42

protected by Clark Kent May 20 '12 at 8:48

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.