I searched " I says "in COCA and I got 716 hits. Most of them are from spoken section, but still some are in the academic or fiction sections, the more formal sections.

Are they all typos or, to some extent, they can be treated as acceptable?

What do you think of Coca? Is it trustworthy?


  • 3
    "I says" appears in some dialects meaning "I said" or "I say." – Robusto Oct 26 '19 at 1:59
  • 1
    Don't go lookin' for answers about dialect, I says . . . – David M Oct 26 '19 at 2:01
  • No, not typos. It's colloquial in certain dialects. The occurrences in literature must be either quotations of actual usage, mentions (use/mention) or literal usage as fit for the context. – Kris Oct 26 '19 at 6:28
  • Possible duplicate of "'I says' in spoken English" english.stackexchange.com/q/360164/14666 – Kris Oct 26 '19 at 6:29
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the purpose of this site is not to express opinions about books. – David Oct 26 '19 at 7:29

COCA is a high-quality corpus (although the part of speech tagging isn't always perfect). You can verify that you're getting good results by looking at the context.

Looking at the hits, they all look genuine to me.

Most of the academic hits come from "AmerIndianQ", and specifically a Native American story about a coyote that was also printed here.

Some of what is labeled fiction is from movies, such as Fargo. There's also written fiction, which is often informal. Even if it's not as extreme as it was in other times (e.g. "git fo’ dollars mo’ at de en’ er de year" from Huckleberry Finn), it's still common to see dialect (a good, popular — albeit British — example would be characters like Hagrid in Harry Potter).

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  • So you mean they actually meant to say "I says". I thought, in many cases, they were typos(except for dialects and characters like Hagrid),and that if they had reconsidered it, they would have used" I say". – Robby zhu Oct 26 '19 at 5:12

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