'isn't' - is it a word

India
May 18, 2012 9:41am CST
frankly, I am not good in english as it is not my mother tongue. especially when it comes to grammar i am too poor in it. but many of my friends who are having good knowledge in english use to tell isn't is not a word. They use tease others who are all using this word. But, In many english movies i saw people use this word. Is isn't is word or not???? i have many doubts regarding english is there any interest in mylot related to english please help me to find out
3 people like this
15 responses
@roberten (3131)
• United States
18 May 12
Your friends are incorrect, isn't is a contraction for the words "is" and "not". ("Contraction (grammar) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isn%27t A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters. In traditional ...") "Isn't - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/isn't Definition of ISN'T: is not . First Known Use of ISN'T. 1608. Browse. Next Word in the Dictionary: ISO Previous Word in the Dictionary: Isnik All Words Near: isn't"
1 person likes this
@AKRao24 (13513)
• India
18 May 12
That is what I wanted dear Roberten!In fact I too was about to search the net to justify my point that "Isn't" is a valid word and can be used in English language without any problem! Thanks! In fact in India we follow the European English as being one of the Common Wealth country and we are taught European English in our schools! (Now with the changing times we are learning American and Australian English!) Because of this we people from India get confused over several matters concerning with English language. Like Colour in European English is spelt as Color in American English! Similarly the pronunciation of European English, American English and Australian English is totally different! Being a non English speaking country but having most of the technical education in English medium we Indians always have these types of confusion! Thanks for your response which will be helpful to many others who believe that 'Isn't' is not a proper word to be used in English!
• India
19 May 12
Thanks for your explanation with proof..now my doubt was cleared...
@sukumar794 (5047)
• Thiruvananthapuram, India
19 May 12
In fact the same denotes 'Is it not?'. You must develop the habit of reading at least one of the English language daily newspapers.Though you may find it a little bit uneasy in recognizing and understanding words, the ordeal will be over with the passing of days. It is one of the best options to grasp English language skills in a gradual pace. The effort will definitely bring in welcome results.
@wittynet (4130)
• Philippines
19 May 12
The poster is correct. His friends should be the ones who should develop the habit of reading.
@wittynet (4130)
• Philippines
19 May 12
Anything that we utter is a word. Tell your friends to take refresher course.
1 person likes this
@ryanong (9695)
• Vietnam
19 May 12
Isn't is a short way of two words "is' and "not". we can meet many cases like that in English: didn't, hasn't, wouldn't,..etc. Some your friends are not nice when teasing the others about their English. English or the others languages are just the way for us in communication so that better don't go in a small thing when talking. We are not the language experts.
1 person likes this
@lady1993 (16391)
• Philippines
19 May 12
I think isn't is a word..it is kind of like a tag name..it's a combination of two words, is not.. it even has a definition, which is why i think it is word. have you ever asked them why they say it's not?
• India
20 May 12
I never asked them why they are telling that is wrong? is they are all wrong?
@lady1993 (16391)
• Philippines
20 May 12
i can't really say anything unless i know their reason of not treating isn't as a word.. For me, it is a word though, webster's think so too.
@Desmesne (42)
• United States
19 May 12
"Isn't" is a contraction of the words "is" and "not", don't worry much if you have trouble with English it's an over complicated language where it has more than one sound for each letter, words have different pronunciation but are spelled the same,and many words are moot but exist.
• India
20 May 12
I am not worry about english. i want to learn english well. Is there any interest especially for english?
• United States
23 May 12
Yes even though english is my native language and often many mistakes are made, people that speak it have trouble with pronunciation.
• United States
20 May 12
it is,but it's a contraction and considered "slang" or low english. "ain't" means about the same thing,and is also slang. but most people will use either in many situations,because saying "is not" is a wee formal.
@JohnRok1 (2051)
19 May 12
Roberten has really nailed it, showing it occurred in literature 3 years before the Authorized Version of the Bible was published. It may still be frowned upon in some circles to use it in formal written English, I don't know - it's probably better to use "is not" in legal documents, for instance, but it's (another word) a matter of style, not grammar. "It is not", "Is it not" and "Is not it" are somehow more demanding of attention and, of course, you can express more subtle nuances by stressing any of the 3 words above the others. I think, by now, that even "ain't" is a word. But don't use it, unless you intend to be funny, or characterize the person you're quoting, or deliberately use vernacular for some purpose (pardon the split infinitive I've inadvertently introduced!). Similarly "innit" (short, presumably for "isn't it"), which actually means nothing at all in practice; innit! Strangely, although "don't" is a contraction of "do not" and should not used in the third person singular (for which the correct contraction is "doesn't") W.S.Gilbert did exactly that. (Note that instinctively I used "should not", rather than "shouldn't" - I think this must be because I was expressing a rule)
• United States
19 May 12
Isn't. This is a contraction. Simply put if you break it down, you have is not. It's basically a shortcut. Examples: It isn't going to rain. Or, It is not going to rain. "This isn't fair!" "This is not fair!" What's a contraction? It's a way to shorten a group of words to put it as one word, but they always include the apostrophe symbol. Examples: Can't, (can not) isn't,(is not) won't (will not). So yes, isn't is a word, but it is an improper word.
• United States
19 May 12
"Isn't" isn't a word at all, isn't it? lol Well, in a serious perspective, "isn't" IS NOT a word. It's made of two words (like the "it's" I used at the beginning of the sentence, which is a fusion of the words "it" and "is"), which are "is" and "not".
@owlwings (38896)
• Cambridge, England
18 May 12
Strictly speaking, it is two words. It is a colloquial contraction of "is not". The same can be said of "didn't", "aren't", "won't" (= "will not"), "shan't" (= "shall not") and many others. Notice that the apostrophe (representing a sound which is missed out and not pronounced) comes between the "n" and the "t", showing that the "o" is not sounded at all. Although it's colloquial and therefore shouldn't be used in formal writing, it is common enough that it's quite acceptable to use it in informal writing, such as a letter or a blog article where the intention is to give the impression of talking directly to the reader. Did you notice the two other contractions which I used in the above paragraph? "it's" and "shouldn't", which stand for "it is" and "should not", respectively. You should always be careful when using "it's" and "its". Both sound the same and, because "'s" usually denotes the possessive case ("The dog's bone", "Bill's bicycle"), it is often assumed that "it's" works the same way. When we want to refer to "something belonging to 'it' (whatever 'it' is!)" the correct way to write it is "its". A passage like this should explain it - "Grass is a plant. Its colour is usually green but when it's dry it turns yellow or brown"
• India
18 May 12
yes you said is right i will like your frankness . so many do not now how to use grammar but but they blame other this i the kind of situation i am facing and effected with it in my college life i also even does not now how to speak the other than mother tongue languages . but so many english movies , news papers , and frequently talking with the other and making some practicing helps me a lot in learning this language and now i am satisfy with my language , and when comes to your question i does not now the meaning when i am talking frankly
@factorial (981)
• Philippines
18 May 12
A word is "something that is said" (Webster's). Therefore "isn't" is a word.
@Bluedoll (17074)
• Canada
18 May 12
Is not is the correct way to write but isn't however is acceptable. Both methods are acceptable in the english language in fact isn't might be even more acceptable if used in a conversation sentance such as. He said, "that isn't the case." Most people use the two words is and not together like that in conversation as well. Couldn't, shouldn't wouldn't. As far as a quality dictionary is concerned it is not normally listed. It would be redundant to say everything twice as a not. You can however use is not if you so desire. I do usually when writing. Your welcome, hope that helped.
@mykmari_08 (2466)
• Philippines
18 May 12
Hi there. I'm not so good in English but let me express my own view on this matter. We have been thought during our primary years in school about this thing. If I remember it well, "is" is a linking verb; and if you add "not" you are creating a negative form of a linking verb, "is not". Contracting it or shortening it, we say isn't, where we add an apostrophe in the place of the letter o. Same is true with should not, making it to shouldn't (i.e. aren't, wouldn't, couldn't, shan't, won't, etc.) I guess it would be absurd to say that all of these aren't words. Just sharing.