Athyra and Dragon

Peter H. Granzeau pgranzeau at cox.net
Tue Jun 3 09:04:32 PDT 2003

At 03:01 06/03/2003, Iván Rebollo wrote:

>Finally, in page 95 Savn asks himself "Why aren't I afraid? Excuse me for 
>my poor english but I do not remember reading this grammatic construction 
>before: what's its purpose? there is any kind of enphasis or stress which 
>I do not catch?

It's ungrammatical, but common.  The formal construction is "Am I 
not?".  English speakers like to shorten any combination of "to be" and 
"not".  This would lead to "Amn't", which is nearly unpronounceable, and 
probably hasn't seen any use since Jane Austen used it.  At one time, 
"Ain't I?" was used, even by the educated, but that led to "I ain't" 
instead of "I'm not", the proper contraction, and the schoolmarms have all 
but erased "ain't" from the English language.

Personally, I might use "'m I not?" ("Why'm I not afraid?), but that, too, 
isn't commonly used.

So we are stuck with the ungrammatical "Aren't I?" construction.

Regards, Pete
pgranzeau at cox.net