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Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
The Word "Ain't"
Monday March 19th 2018
Question
What does "ain't" mean and how is it used? — M. Salah , Egypt
Answer

The word ain't is considered by many to be incorrect or "bad" English but it is common in the very informal speech of some people. It can be used to mean am not, are not, is not, have not, and has not. Below are some examples of each meaning.

  • I ain't going. = I am not going.
  • They ain't home. = They are not home.
  • He ain't answering his phone. = He is not answering his phone.
  • They ain't been here before. = They have not been here before.
  • She ain't been able to walk since she fell. = She has not been able to walk since she fell.

 

Ain't is also commonly used in informal and humorous phrases, as shown in the examples below.

  • Ain't that the truth?
  • Say it ain't so!
  • You ain't seen nothing yet.
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 

In formal writing or professional speaking, however, it should be avoided.

 

I hope this helps. For more posts about words, idioms, grammar, and usage, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 

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