Contracting: AM, ARE, & IS + NOT

Contracting: AM, ARE, & IS + NOT

So, when we negate IS and ARE, we can contract NOT onto both of those words, but with AM, we never contract NOT onto AM. It’s always I’M NOT.

However, you can have IS NOT, ISN’T, ISN'[T]. ARE NOT, AREN’T, AREN'[T].

So, when we have ARE and IS and the word NOT in a sentence, you can contract either ARE or IS onto the pronoun and then have NOT, or you can leave the pronoun alone and you can contract ARE and IS onto NOT, but you can’t contract all three words together.

Either option is okay. They both sound natural. It’s personal preference, and to be honest, I probably use both from time to time without thinking about it. So, practice them both.

And remember, you can leave NOT uncontracted to really add some emphasis. For example: He’s NOT coming.

Alright, let’s do some example sentences.

I am not – I’m not – I amn’t
ɑe æm nɔt – ɑem‿nɔt – ɑe æmnt

But remember, it’s not “I amn’t”. Never, never, never!

You are not – You’re not – You aren’t
jʉː ɐː nɔt – joː nɔt – jʉː‿ɐːnt

He is not – He’s not – He isn’t
hiː ɪz nɔt – hiːz nɔt – hiː‿ˈɪznt

She is not – She’s not – She isn’t
ʃiː ɪz nɔt – ʃiːz nɔt – ʃiː‿ˈɪznt

We are not – We’re not – We aren’t
wiː ɐː nɔt – weː nɔt – wiː‿ɐːnt

They are not – They’re not – They aren’t
ðæɪ ɐː nɔt – ðeː nɔt – ðæɪ‿ɐːnt

It is not – It’s not – It isn’t
ɪt ɪz nɔt – ɪts nɔt – ɪɽ‿ˈɪznt

So, note: with regards to pronunciation, I pronounced the T’s in NOT clearly. However, these can be muted. In the case of plosive consonants like T, P, B, K, they can be unreleased, so you may here: I’m not – ɑem‿nɔ[t], he isn’t – hiː‿ˈɪzn[t], she’s not – ʃiːz nɔ[t], where the T isn’t released.

Again, personal preference. It’s up to you. Native speakers will often do both at different times.