Friday, 7 January 2011

"Amn't"- the revolution begins here

Call me pedantic, but I’ve noticed a gap in the English language which I feel needs to be filled, for the reasons of consistency and grammatical correctness.
To say someone is not something in the second person, you can say “you’re not” or “you aren’t”, likewise in the third person singular you can say “s/he’s not” or “s/he isn’t” or plural, “they’re not” or “they aren’t”. However, in the singular, there exists only “I’m not”. What happened to “I amn’t”?
This covers the consistency point, but wouldn’t bother me too much in itself if it wasn’t for the fore used when asking a question. When clarifying if someone is not what they say they’re not, generally we would say “aren’t they”, “aren’t you” or “isn’t s/he?”, or the more formal “are they not?”, “are you not?”, or “is s/he not?”. However, when it comes to the singular the only correct option in use is “am I not?”. In informal conversation people tend to use “aren’t I?”, the error in which is revealed when we remove the negation and are left with “are I?”.  This is where “amn’t” is really needed, as “amn’t I?” could replace “aren’t I?” as the informal first person singular.
There is one word in English which comes close to “amn’t” and that is “aint”. However, while they may have originally meant the same thing, “aint” is now too colloquial to act as “amn’t” and has too wide usage, often acting as “haven’t” in a past participle, as in “I haven’t eaten yet”-“I aint eaten yet”.
Here begins the campaign to get “amn’t” into everyday usage, where it belongs, and to put an end to grammatical inaccuracy.

If you see any errors in this please comment below.

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