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rachel@proactiveadminservices.co

Query '...aren't I?'

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What a great question, Rachel!

 

I agree with both Sherra and Kathy. (For the record, "Angela Smith" doesn't know everything there is to know about grammar, so please feel free to chime in with your thoughts! :D )

 

I poked around the 'net a bit, and it appears that the authorities disagree on this topic. (Big surprise!) Some say the phrase "aren't I?" is considered acceptable English, even though "I are not" is obviously not. (The logic behind this is that there is no other acceptable contraction for "am I not?" except in some parts of Scotland where they say "amn't I?") Others say that "aren't I?" is only appropriate in informal contexts, while "am I not?" should be used in formal contexts. Still others say that "aren't I?" is unacceptable in any context.

 

If you do a quick Google search of "aren't I grammar" (with the phrase "aren't I" in quotation marks), you can read these varying opinions to your heart's content. Here are a few links to get you started:

 

Dr. Charles Darling - Guide to Grammar & Writing

 

Google Answers (contains lots of references)

 

Grammar Girl

 

Out of curiosity, I'd love to hear what everyone was taught about this in school. My teachers never brought it up!

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Back in the day when I was in school, the rule we were taught was if the contraction was broken down to individual words and it didn't make sense then don't use the contraction. As was pointed out, 'are not I' doesn't work alone. I don't remember anything specifically for 'aren't.'

 

~Ruth

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