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

Since "amn't I" is so clunky, is "aren't I" grammatically correct? Or is the only way to say this "Am I not"?

share|improve this question
@waiwai: The linked question does not address whether "aren't I" is considered grammatically correct. All it establishes is that "aren't I" and "ain't I" are preferred because they're easier to say. – Daniel Jul 15 '11 at 17:38
Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/29299/… – nohat Jul 15 '11 at 17:47
I suggest using the "flag" option (if available) to bring issues like this up to moderators directly. Waiwai probably just skimmed the related question before closing this one (I know I have done that a few times myself) without realizing that this question asks something not addressed in the other. – nohat Jul 15 '11 at 17:49
Yes .... but from where does it come? Are there any historical references? – user76857 May 21 '14 at 12:49
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The NOAD reports that aren't is the contraction of are not, and am not; in the latter case, it is used only in questions.

Why aren't I being given a pay raise?

The Collins English Dictionary says the same, but it says that using aren't as contraction of am not is informal, and chiefly British.

share|improve this answer

Aren't I? is standard English as the negative interrogative of I am. So it is correct.

Ain't I? is also common though regarded as a lower register. Am I not? sounds far too picky. I am, init? is also used, though I hate it. Amn't I might be logical, but only seems to exist, if at all, in Scottish or Irish dialect.

share|improve this answer
Could you cite an authority on the subject? – Daniel Jul 15 '11 at 18:09
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… has a discussion – Henry Jul 15 '11 at 18:14
I'm sorry, but it's still not clear. Are you saying that it is correct grammar? – Daniel Jul 15 '11 at 18:21
@drm65: he said that "Aren't I?" is correct grammar (accepted in formal and informal settings), but that "Ain't I?" is appropriate only in a very, very informal setting (i.e. not correct for writing, but it is exactly what people say in certain informal contexts). – Mitch Jul 15 '11 at 19:30
@drm65. Aren't I? is correct grammar, indeed standard. Init? is London youth vernacular adopted from immigrants, used as a universal negative question word, derived from isn't it? but used for all three persons, singular and plural, and something I discourage. – Henry Jul 15 '11 at 20:30

Just say "am I not", which carries no error other than causing one to sound like Barbara Eden portraying "Jeannie". Easy.

share|improve this answer

Just because people say "aren't I" to avoid saying "ain't I," the original contraction of "am I not," does not make it correct. It's an odious "error if pretension." What's so difficult about "amn't I" (no harder to say than "wasn't I") - that form would be graceful and logical, so let's start using it.

share|improve this answer
There's nothing difficult about amn’t I, but as was already mentioned, it simply does not exist in Modern English, except in Ireland and Scotland. Just because you personally don't like something and it isn't ‘original’ doesn't make it a mistake or an error. And ain’t I is not a contraction of am I not, but of am not I. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 11 '14 at 0:25

protected by RegDwigнt May 21 '14 at 13:37

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.