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Aren't I?

This questioning expression represents a real dilemma. The English language lacks a contraction of am not. Logically, we would say "am't" for am not, but for a reason unknown to me, that hasn't caught on. This creates no problem except in questions, such as "Am I not invited to the party?" Some writers and speakers use the illogi-cal expression aren't I? presumably to avoid the ungrammatical ain't I? In my opinion, aren't I? is as bad as ain't I? I prefer am I not? To some, however, am I not? sounds like an affectation.

Given a choice of "Ain't I a handsome devil?" "Aren't I a hand-some devil?" or "Am I not a handsome devil?" I'd take the third choice without a doubt. My advice is, don't use ain't unless you're trying to be funny. Don't use am I not? if you're uncomfortable with it. Don't use aren't I? at all.


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