Are + Not = Aren’t

Today, I had an epiphany of sorts. It happened as my mom and I were walking out of Staples (where I scored some great deals thanks to these nifty coupons http://bit.ly/n9cU4d). She said something to me that begged me to respond with the rhetorical question “Aren’t I”, but the moment that I said those words I was struck with utter confusion. Let me explain why….

Aren’t is a combination of the words “are” and “not”, as I hope most of you already knew. I replayed what I said in my mind, replacing the word “aren’t” with the words “are not”. Something wasn’t right. When referring to a yourself in the first person, one should say ‘am’ not ‘are’. (Example: I am going to the store. Not, I are going to the store.) I wouldn’t have said “Are not I?” or “Are I not?”. I would’ve said “Am not I?” or “Am I not?”. So why did I say “Aren’t I?” instead of “Amn’t I?” And why would most people probably say “Aren’t I?” in that situation?

You’ve got to admit – this can be quite a sticky subject. I don’t plan on walking around saying “amn’t” all of the time now. Number one, it’s hard to say. Number two, people would probably think I was crazy and stare at me blankly. And number three, I might also think I was crazy and stare at myself blankly (mind you, if I could pull that off, I would KNOW I was crazy). I mean, come on! “Amn’t” does sound pretty weird, right?

So, in the end, I think I’d like your opinion on the matter. Should we stop using the word “aren’t” when referring to ourselves in the first person? Should we say “amn’t” even though it sounds weird, and we might risk people questioning our sanity? Or should we completely forget that I ever brought this up and continue to say “aren’t” when referring to ourselves in the first person?

Leave a comment below and tell me what YOU think.

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