Use of amn't i...

I came across a usage problem. I looked up the use of amn't in the dictionary and got the information that it's chiefly used in Scottish and Irish varieties of English. Is it not used in other varieties of English? Is it right for non-native speakers of English to use it in formal setting i.e. academic writing etc? Thanks


  • Does it mean the same as “ain’t”, used only in jest in Canada?

  • Ain't is used at many places. Amn't is the contracted form of am not

  • Amn't is definitely a regionalism. Your dictionary implies that there are areas outside Scotland and Ireland where it's used, but I don't know where they are.

    So it's completely inappropriate for non-native speakers of English to use. Moreover , it's not a good idea for native-speakers to use it unless it's part of their regional speech. I live in Scotland, but I would never say amn't. It would-be like trying to speak with a Scottish accent. I know my attempt at a Scottsh accent isn't good enough, and I'm afraid I might use amn't where a real Scottish speaker wouldn't.

    In any case, the appropriate wordings for formal prose, including academic wring, are:

    • I am not — instead of informal I'm not
    • am I not? — instead of informal aren't I?

    Many, many native-speakers in all parts of the English-Speaking world use

    • I ain't
    • ain't I?

    This is very informal, and generally considered non-standard and uneducated — unless, as Mary says, it's used jokingly.

    David Crystal has written a whole book about BE. He points out that the forms accepted as Standard English are not exactly logical:
    aren't I?
    but NOT
    I aren't

  • David thanks a lot !

  • I'm not sure ...

  • Amn't Aa? (Aren't I?) was part of my mother's idiolect. Born in the west of Newcastle upon Tyne 1907.

  • The simplest is usually the best in all things. If learning the language, English is quirky enough without being bamboozled by regional niceties.
    Don't ape the natives as that rarely goes down well, instead bring something of your variety to the table.

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