Well, it is now… #1linerWeds

I-aint-gonna-say-aint

This is a joke phrase we used to use every year when our teachers at St. Ignatius (mostly nuns) would lecture us about “ain’t” and how we shouldn’t use it. They condemned its use almost to the level of using other four-letter words, the ones I don’t usually use on this blog.

I mean, really. Using the word “ain’t” might make you seem less intelligent, it might not be proper English, but it ain’t that bad. I can think of at least two songs with it in the title, and plenty more that use it in the lyrics.

I mean, far worse than Fats Domino singing “Ain’t That A Shame” is Pat Boone singing it, because there were radio stations at the time that wouldn’t play music by black artists. That was terribly bigoted and just plain dumb.

The rules of proper usage in the English language have been in a constant state of flux since the language evolved from Anglo-Saxon. Sure, there’s a standard set of rules for the language, but just because there is doesn’t mean everyone uses them, and it doesn’t mean that those rules don’t change, or the rules aren’t broken in common usage. Ever seen a grocery store with a sign over the register that says “ten items or fewer”? It’s proper English, but more common to see a sign that says “10 items or less.” In certain places, such as the south side of Chicago, you’ll commonly hear sentences like “Whatcha up to?” The rule is “don’t end a sentence with a preposition,” and here we’ve ended this sentence with two of them. Maybe it’s like the double-negative thing, I don’t know…


Another entry into Linda Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday. Check her blog for the rules and the entries.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

14 thoughts on “Well, it is now… #1linerWeds”

  1. In a linguistics class in college a professor explained to me that English is still a broken language due to the insistence of native speakers to refuse to accept “ain’t” in the dictionary. Really mind blowing to think about, or at least to me it was.

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  2. Well, summer is almost over, and as they say… Right now, there “Ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”!!!! So… ~snicker-snicker~ I think I’ll head on home… because there “Ain’t no mountain high enough. Ain’t no valley low enough… Ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from my new friend! ~hehehe~ Have a great day!

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  3. Churchill said it best – the correct English phraseology is “Up with which I shall not put”, but if anyone said that they would be considered nuts. One of my pet hates is ‘wouldn’t of’ or ‘shouldn’t of’ etc. The people who do this apparently have no idea that what they are trying to say is wouldn’t have and so on. I have even seen this creeping into books these days. One would think an author would know the correct way of writing – and no I am not talking about characters using colloquial speech. I am a Grammar Nazi I guess

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    1. The one that gets me is “free rein.” People write “free reign” and neglect its actual derivation (from horsemanship). Another is “cause” for “because”; it needs an apostrophe at the front to show there are letters missing. But it doesn’t seem to matter anyway.

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  4. You know, I’ve always said ain’t. I’ve never used it in my writing (except maybe dialogue) but that’s because it always felt… wrong. Now, I use y’all ALL the time. I mean, not in fiction writing usually but on my blog, twitter, facebook. Everywhere. 🙂

    Madilyn Quinn @ NovelBrews

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  5. “I ain’t got no good English”, was another childhood saying I remember. A lot of rules seem nitpicky to me, so I’m pretty liberal about breaking rules of grammar. Too many rules interfere with creativity, in my view.

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    1. Not sure what you mean by that (whether you mean not using “ain’t” as not being a word or that the rules of grammar are somewhat flexible), but regardless, thanks for stopping by!

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