Posted by David FG on December 21, 2007
In Reply to: Aren't I right posted by Victoria S Dennis on December 20, 2007
: : : Bit of grammar really :- Why is 'aren't I right' used when 'amn't I not right' is more consistent? We say 'am I not?' not 'are I not?'
: : It's because we want to use a nice,one-syllable contraction, and "ain't" is not available, even though it's the logical choice. And "aren't" starts with "a."
: : Well, what's wrong with "an't"? That was sometimes used in the 18th century for both "am not" and "are not." The use of "aren't" for "am not" has doubtless gone on for a long time, which is why it was complained about in this citation from the OED:
: : "1907 LADY GROVE Social Fetich 38 If 'ain't I?' is objected to, surely 'aren't I?' is very much worse."
: : In both Britain and America, "is not" got contracted not only to "isn't," but even further, to "i'n't," as in "i'n't it awful?"
: : SS
: In Britain "Isn't it?" is often contracted further yet, to "Innit?" (VSD)
'Amn't I?' is quite common in Ireland.