I wish to know the difference between "ain't" and "isn't" and since I'm not a speaker of english as first language, I can't tell.

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    They mean the same thing; ain't is never used in formal or even semi-formal settings.
    – Dan Bron
    May 7 '15 at 14:07
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    You isn't nothin' but a hound dog??? May 7 '15 at 14:30
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    Related: When did “ain't” become slang?
    – user66974
    May 7 '15 at 14:46
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    @ADG: that was my point; you can't always replace ain't by isn't. Maybe you didn't recognize that "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog" is a line from a famous song. May 7 '15 at 16:47
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    @PeterShor In my neck of the woods, "ain't" is interchangeable with both "isn't" and "aren't". It's less a direct change from isn't and more a general negation of "to be".
    – VampDuc
    May 7 '15 at 17:04

In American English, "isn't" is the standard contraction of "is not," and "ain't" is a nonstandard, dialectal contraction of "is not" and and sometimes "are not" and "am not" (He ain't, They ain't, You ain't, I ain't). In the U.S., it's most common in Southern speech, but it wouldn't be accepted in formal writing in any region unless the writer was quoting someone or deliberately striving for a vernacular tone.

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    Isn't also a contraction of 'has not'? "I ain't got nobody." "I ain't got a dime." May 7 '15 at 14:35
  • That's true. I've heard "He ain't been here lately" and similar constructions.
    – Nicole
    May 7 '15 at 14:37
  • would it matter if I use it in text with countries speaking english not as their first languages?
    – RE60K
    May 7 '15 at 15:50
  • @DavidGarner yes, there is hain't. It isn't used very often, except in certain southern dialects. It is very rarely used elsewhere. May 7 '15 at 16:05
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    @JasonHutchinson, I've never seen it spelt with an H, tho logically there was one that got dropped. Just remembered that in 'King of the Road', Roger Miller repeats "Ain't got no cigarettes." May 7 '15 at 19:41

"Isn't" is a contraction of "is not".

"Ain't" is a vernacular expression of "isn't", and although it carries the equivalent meaning, it is not part of Standard English.

  • @ pyrAmider, True for English English; you might use Ain't in quotation, or to show dated slang as in the TV series 'It Ain't Half Hot, Mum.' Or to indicate Mockney attitude to a situation. Would you agree? But on all other occasions Isn't is normal informal for Is not.
    – Hugh
    May 7 '15 at 14:24

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