Occurrences of "ain't" in Jane Austen's writings


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Unlike singular "their", the word "ain't" never appears in the narration of Jane Austen's novels, but is confined to the quoted dialogue of certain characters of dubious elegance and correctness. It is interesting that "ain't" mainly occurs in her first-published novel Sense and Sensibility (except for two occurrences of the phrase "Ain't I?", which might be interpreted as intentionally humorous, rather than as reflecting on the characters' bad grammar).


Occurrences of vulgar "ain't" in Sense and Sensibility

Nancy Steele:
"Nay, my dear, I'm sure I don't pretend to say that there an't. I'm sure there's a vast many smart beaux in Exeter"
Mrs. Jennings:
"Well, my dear, 'tis a true saying about an ill-wind, for it will be all the better for Colonel Brandon. He will have her at last; ay, that he will. Mind me, now, if they an't married by Midsummer. Lord! how he'll chuckle over this news!"
Fanny ("Mrs. John") Dashwood:
Perhaps Fanny thought for a moment that her mother had been quite rude enough; for, colouring a little, she immediately said, --
"They are very pretty, ma'am -- an't they?" But then again the dread of having been too civil, too encouraging herself, probably came over her...
Lucy Steele:
"Are you ill, Miss Dashwood? -- you seem low -- you don't speak; -- sure you an't well."
Nancy Steele (to Elinor):
"Edward talks of going to Oxford, soon," said she; "but now he is lodging at No. ----, Pall Mall. What an ill-natured woman his mother is, an't she? And your brother and sister were not very kind! However, I shan't say anything against them to you..."
Mrs. Jennings (to Elinor):
"Lord! my dear, you are very modest. I an't the least astonished at it in the world; for I have often thought, of late, there was nothing more likely to happen."
Mrs Jennings:
"The Colonel is a ninny, my dear; because he has two thousand a year himself, he thinks that nobody else can marry on less. Take my word for it, that, if I am alive, I shall be paying a visit at Delaford Parsonage before Michaelmas; and I am sure I shan't go if Lucy an't there."

Occurrences of first-person jocular interrogative "ain't" in the other novels

Charles Musgrove:
"Well, mother, I have done something for you that you will like. I have been to the theatre, and secured a box for to-morrow night. A'n't I a good boy? I know you love a play; and there is room for us all."
Mrs. Elton:
"I am in a fine flow of spirits, an't I?"

Statistics

Occurrences of "Ain't" in jocular interrogative "Ain't I?":

Occurrences of other "Ain't":



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