AEE 871: Is There Ever a Good Time to Use “Ain’t” in English?

When you hear the word “ain’t” what do you think?

On this show we believe in Connection NOT Perfection but we also believe that there are some grammar mistakes that will label you as uneducated and “ain’t” is one of them.

Today we’ll show why this word leaves such a bad impression and why you should avoid it.

 

What does “ain’t” mean?

 It means “is not” or “are not.”

It makes people think that you are uneducated when you use it.

 

 Question from a listener: 

Thank you so much for the reply to my previous question about “gotten”.  You people are wonderful. Thanks again for your work. Now I have a few more words to ask. I hope these are informal.  As I’m not a native speaker I can’t feel the way the speaker tries to convey.  Today I wanna ask only two of them.

-> The first one is “ain’t”

Is it the alternative of is not, am not and are not? Can we use it in place of hasn’t and haven’t.

-Minhajuddin Khan

 

We’re going to take a direct position on this and say to all of our listeners DON’T USE THIS!!!

Why?

It sounds uneducated. It makes you sound unintelligent.

It will cause people to automatically put you in a category and it won’t help you in life or in communication.

 

All Ears English TranscriptsMake sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.

Get the transcripts from today’s episode.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

Click here to subscribe and save 50%

 

 

But what about Connection NOT perfection?

Our philosophy is based on the idea that we shouldn’t let our fear of mistakes get in our way of connection but this falls outside of that.

When you use this word while knowing what people think of it, you are actually actively preventing connection right from the beginning.

 

The listener asked if we can use it in place of “have not”or “has not.” 

No, you can’t.

The only thing you need this word for is to understand it.

Maybe if you watch a movie where it’s used and it’s probably used more in the south in rural areas.

I am thinking of the movie Sweet Home Alabama.

In the case of movies like this one you want to understand what it means and how it’s being used.

Also you’ll hear it in TONS of songs including pop, country music, rock , etc.

 One famous song where it’s used is Bill Withers’ “Aint No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

 

 

Here is what a typical conversation with “ain’t” might look like:

A: Your dog is a bully. He stole my dog’s food.

B: Ah he ain’t so bad. Just a little hungry is all. (with southern twang, country) 

 

So if our strong recommendation is to avoid this what should we say instead:

Just use the correct negative form.

  • Is not
  • Does not have
  • Are not
  • Do not

 

Takeaway:

DON’T use it.

Understand it.

Know what it means.

Listen to it in songs and movies and enjoy it but please don’t use it.

 

What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: