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.