aren't vs. ain't

Could you tell me the usage between aren’t and ain’t???

Please help! Kind of in hurry! Thank you.

They’re the same though ain’t is a bit more informal and commonly used in lyrics. Listen to these songs and check it out: you’ve got a friend- Mc. Fly, Bye bye- NSync.

Thought “ain’t” is used, it is considered improper grammar. The only other difference is that “ain’t” gets used with both singular and plural nouns.

All these are in the two songs I provided.

“Ain’t” means “am not”, “isn’t” and “aren’t”. It is considered bad grammar, and you should avoid it, if you want to sound well-educated.


‘Ain’t’ is sometimes used humorously where the speaker knows it is ungrammatical and appears in common expressions like this: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - in other words if something is working properly, don’t try to change it. (If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it). In the late 18th century and early 19th century in England it was spoken by a certain type of speaker who used it as a fashionable mannerism as an affectation.


I am not sure, but besides those uses, couldn’t it also mean haven’t?

It can also replace the auxiliaries “haven’t” and “hasn’t”. That’s right.

Then it’s quite convenient. Why not promote it and get used to it much more?! :slight_smile:
By the way, Jamie, where is Amy? I am a little missing her.

Hi Jamie, what about “wanna” and “gonna”? Are they considered bad gramear as well? Thanks.

I am interested in “Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.” Could you give me a context where you call today the present? BTW, “wanna” and “gonna” are used in oral English, I would think, and should not be regarded as of bad grammar; but let’s wait for Jamie.

Hi Haihao, my signature was cited from a book of Alice Morse Earle. The full qutoe reads: “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”

Hi Infin1ty, Ninghao!

The quote is great and I love it! BTW, I have been to Beijing once. She was a huge place to me then, especially the Tiananmen Square. It was about 20 years ago. She must have changed a lot!

When you ask if these words are bad grammar the answer is yes. However, this is in writing, while in conversation they are all very common.

But I wouldn’t say ain’t in conversation if it were a formal situation.

Many thanks, Dave_B.

In spoken English, nearly everybody says “wanna” and “gonna”, which are just ordinary contractions. They are not stigmatized at all in speech, but they are considered abominable in almost all writing. You can write them in the comics, for example, but there are not many other written contexts where they are tolerated. No one’s parents will punish them for saying “wanna” or “gonna”.

“Ain’t” is stigmatized both in writing AND speech, and many kids’ parents do punish them for saying it. There are some dialects or other varieties of English whose speakers use “ain’t” a lot in very informal colloquial speech, but for a very large percentage of native English speakers, “ain’t” is stigmatized in all contexts. Many people think that if a person can’t keep from saying “ain’t”, he lacks intelligence, a good upbringing or a decent education. Many very intelligent, well-educated people use “ain’t” in very casual speech, but they know it’s stigmatized, so they don’t use it anywhere but among family and friends.

With all the respect but I wonder if “wanna” and the like are qualified for a visit to the kingdom of grammar, bad or good. They seem to me only to serve the speaker for a quick or smooth speaking. We can find “wanna” in almost every dictionary where the poor word is qualified as “Contraction of want to”, such as by the AHD.

Jamie, I just find I lack words to express my gratitude. Thank you so much for such a detailed explanation. Sometimes, words like wanna, gonna and ain’t may cause confusion to learners like me. One of my friends even thought that it would make him sound like a native speaker of English by using “wanna” instead of “want to”. Thus he wrote this down: “I wanna running everyday.”

Wanna and gonna require a bare infinitive. You can use every contraction in casual conversations. Every word is created by native speakers so don’t hesitate to use them. Just need to be sure that you use them correctly.

Hi Haihao,

If you’re partial to quotes on the passing of time, let me give you one more from Shakespeare: