Aren't/arn't Alert (?): A new(?) or regional(?) negative usage

Margaret Lee mlee303 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jul 17 07:55:23 UTC 2001

Sojourner Truth, in her 1852 speech in Akron, Ohio, at a women's
rights convention asked, as she ripped open her dress to expose her
breasts, "And arn't I a woman?"

--- Rudolph C Troike <rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU> wrote:
> I just picked up this inquiry on my e-mail from U Penn, and thought
> I'd
> pass it along to see if anyone has any further enlightenment.
>         Rudy
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 15:09:25 -0400
> From: sela at
> To: penguists at
> Subject: interesting use of "don't"
> I'm wondering if anyone out there can shed some light on the
> following:
>  I am curious about the phrase "So don't I" as a way to respond in
> the
>  positive to a statement.  I have a feeling it may be acceptable
> only
>  regionally (New England).  To give an example of its use:
>  1  A:  I really like cherry flavoured yogurt.
>     B: Oh, so don't I.  (meaning I like it too.)
>     C:  So doesn't Mary.
>   but
>    *B: Oh, so do I not. (or any formation of the phrase without the
>  contracted form.)
>  1 makes perfect sense to me, I have even caught myself using it.
> It
>  also makes sense to the friends I've asked from my hometown in
> Rhode
>  Island.   My British boyfriend thinks it makes no sense at all.
>   You can also use the negative contraction  in a positive response
> like this:
>  A:  I'm running in the roadrace tomorrow.
>  B: Really? So aren't I.(meaning so am I)
>  where the verb doesn't agree with I (probably because it only
> works with
>  the contracted form and there isn't a contracted form of 'am not'
> that
>  is acceptable to me)
>  any thoughts as to why this can be?
> Suzanne  LaBelle

Margaret G. Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - English and Linguistics
 & University Editor
Department of English
Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668
e-mail:  mlee303 at  or  margaret.lee at

Do You Yahoo!?
Get personalized email addresses from Yahoo! Mail

More information about the Ads-l mailing list