I know the contraction of am not, is not, are not, has not, have not, do not, does not, and did not can be represented as ain't. How can I understand correctly which contraction the speaker meant?

  • Can you provide an example of where you think confusion may arise? Feb 2, 2012 at 8:50
  • @BarrieEngland:For an instance,"I ain't do anything".In that sentence, we can mean as it may be "i am not do anything" or "i do not do anything" or "i did not do anything" and so on. Feb 2, 2012 at 9:00
  • If you mean 'I ain't doing anything', it would mean 'I am not doing anything' because that would be the normal thing to say. If the speaker wanted to express either of the other two it would be necessary to say them in full. The context will almost always show what it is intended. Feb 2, 2012 at 9:07
  • You would never hear "I ain't do anything". Possibly "I ain't done anything" or "I ain't doing anything". Similarly, "I am not do anything" sounds ungrammatical. Better would be "I am not doing anything" or "I did not do anything". Feb 2, 2012 at 9:08
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    @ConcreteGannet,&Barrie England,Yes i was wrong.It was "I ain't done anything".But many times i get confused and i ain't remember the sentences!! Feb 2, 2012 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


Context. "am", "is" and "are" are all parts of the verb "to be", so the subject of the verb will tell you what is meant.

I ain't ready - I am not ready You ain't ready - You are not ready

I ain't got a clue - I haven't got a clue. The got hints we are talking about having or possession.

I think using ain't as a negation of "to do" is much rarer, and if you are in doubt, it's unlikely to be the right answer.

  • "subject of the verb will tell you what is meant",Very Simple!! Feb 2, 2012 at 13:31

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