Taylor Swift Ain't Afraid To Say Ain't
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It Ain't A Coincidence That Taylor Swift Keeps Using This Word

Ain't may not be a real word, but that hasn't stopped Taylor Swift

It Ain't A Coincidence That Taylor Swift Keeps Using This Word

The word ain't isn't officially recognized in the dictionary. That doesn't make it uncommon, though. It is used often as a slang term that can mean "isn't it?" "it is," "is not," "am not," "are not," "have not," or "has not." That's a lot of meanings for one word, which no doubt contributes to its popularity and continued use. Similar to the word ya'll (you all), ain't is common in the southern United States.

This isn't any old vocab lesson, though. This is about Taylor Swift. Even though she hails from Pennsylvania, she picked up ain't somewhere along the way and has used it in her songs. She has continued to use the word since her transition from country to pop music.

Lyricists have this thing called poetic license. It means the freedom to depart from the conventional rules of language when writing in order to create an effect. They can get away with improper grammar, fake words, and nonsense all in order to make the song rhyme or flow better.

Whatever her reasons, Taylor Swift has used ain't in 15 of her songs, including her most recent one.

1. Cold As You


This song is Track 5 on her debut album. Ain't is actually part of the chorus, so it's repeated a few times.

LYRICS: Just walk away. Ain't no use defending words that you will never say.

Here, ain't is used in place of there isn't.

It's worth noting that Swift uses a double negative, so the negatives cancel each other out to form a positive. Technically, she's saying "There is use defending." Since I'm sure that's not what she meant, we'll chalk this up to poetic license or inexperience.

Also, ain't no has the same amount of syllables as there's no, so it's unclear why Swift didn't use correct grammar if it still would've flowed well.

Listen to the song here.

2. The Outside


This is the song after Cold As You.

LYRICS: I can still see you. This ain't the best view.

In this case, ain't is used to mean isn't. Technically, this is grammatically correct. But ain't still isn't a word.

Ain't is fewer syllables than isn't, so Swift may have chosen it for flow.

Listen to the song here.

3. Fifteen


We've now moved on to the Fearless album, which is arguably one of the greatest of all time. Fifteen also happens to be the number of times Taylor Swift has used ain't so far in her songs. Just saying.

LYRICS: Say hi to your friends you ain't seen in a while.

Ain't is versatile, but this usage is one of its less popular meanings. It takes the place of haven't. I think the song would sound better with haven't. It has more syllables, so Swift may have opted for ain't to keep it short.

Watch the music video here.

4. White Horse


This is one of my all-time favorite Taylor Swift songs, so I'm surprised I had forgotten that it uses ain't twice in the chorus. I guess it just fits in and flows well. The song is so great, my mind skips right over the use of a fake word.

LYRICS: I'm not a princess. This ain't a fairytale. I'm not the one you'll sweep off her feet, lead her up the stairwell. This ain't Hollywood.

Ain't in both cases replaces isn't. As I said, I have no problem with the use of ain't in this song. I feel like it's more abrupt and gets the point across better. Plus, it makes it less formal and fits better with the theme of a fairytale gone wrong.

Watch the music video here.

5. Breathe


This is also from Fearless. Taylor Swift co-wrote and sang this song with Colbie Caillat.

LYRICS: It's 2 am, feeling like I just lost a friend. Hope you know it's not easy, easy for me. It's 2 am, feeling like I just lost a friend. Hope you know this ain't easy, easy for me.

This is the bridge, where the same phrase is sung twice. The first time, Swift says "it's not easy." The second time, she says "this ain't easy." Also, she goes from pronouncing it "ee-see" to "ee-say." The second phrase is meant to be more casual and raw, which explains why she uses ain't and pronounces easy differently.

Listen to the song here.

6. Change


Yet another song from Fearless that uses ain't. Could it be because this is one of her more country albums?

LYRICS: It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair.

In this song, ain't means isn't. Swift probably chose to use ain't because it's more concise. Plus, ain't fair flows well.

Watch the music video here.

7. SuperStar


This is from the platinum version of Fearless. It's one of the bonus songs. It's about a celebrity crush, which seems odd coming from a famous person. But you have to remember that Taylor Swift wasn't as big then as she is now.

LYRICS: This is wrong, but I can't help but feel like there ain't nothing more right.

Yet another example of ain't as isn't. Also, ain't nothing is a double negative. It's like saying isn't nothing, which cancels out and becomes is something. Swift isn't saying there's something more right than her feelings. She's saying there's nothing more right. In which case, she should replace there ain't nothing with there's nothing. I'm really not sure why she chose to use ain't here.

Listen to the song here.

8. Back to December


This is the first and only use of ain't on her Speak Now album. I find that somewhat surprising that the only use is on this song. I would've expected to find it in a more country song like Mean. Nevertheless, here it is.

LYRICS: Turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you.

Once again, ain't means isn't. By this point, you can probably guess that I'm going to point out the double negative and how it reverses the meaning of the statement. However, I don't see it as much of a problem in this case. It might help to actually hear this line to understand why it works so well. First of all, it's a powerful statement. She thought breaking up with this guy would mean freedom, but freedom actually means missing him. Second of all, the structure of this line depends on the use of ain't. It just wouldn't work with any other word. So, we'll leave it be.

Watch the music video here.

9. Blank Space


Ain't is actually never used on the Red album. This is the only time it's used on 1989.

LYRICS: Ain't it funny? Rumors fly.

Here, ain't means isn't. In full context, Ain't it funny? seems like it doesn't even need to be there. Its only purpose is sarcasm. Swift is saying it's not funny that rumors are flying, but she's so used to it that she's poking fun at it.

Watch the music video here.

10. End Game


This is one of four songs on Reputation that uses ain't. For some reason, Taylor Swift didn't use it on Red and only used it once on 1989. Now, she's back in full force with it on Reputation. I guess that ruins the theory that she used it so much on Fearless because it was a country album. Reputation is far from country and far from the pop she experimented with on 1989. Whatever you want to call it, it seems to be a good fit for ain't.

LYRICS: I know what they all say, but I ain't trying to play.

In this case, ain't takes the place of am not. I'm not sure why she chose to use ain't when I'm not has the same amount of syllables and the same meaning. Admittedly, I'm not very familiar with this song because I don't listen to some of the songs from Reputation. Maybe ain't fits well with the song, and I just wouldn't know.

Watch the music video here.

11. Don't Blame Me


This song compares love to drug use, which is why I don't like it. However, it does contain ain't, so it makes the list.

LYRICS: Love made me crazy. If it doesn't, you ain't doing it right.

Ain't is used in place of aren't. This is the first time Taylor has used it that way. Ain't and aren't have the same number of syllables, so she could've used either one and it would've flowed well. With the tone of this song, though, I think ain't fits better.

Listen to the song here.

12. Delicate


In this song, ain't is part of the chorus, so it's sung a few times.

LYRICS: This ain't for the best.

Ain't is used in place of isn't. I can actually understand why she used ain't. This isn't doesn't flow well with the way this line is sung. This ends with is and isn't begins with is, so it has a weird effect.

Watch the music video here.

13. Getaway Car


This song is another case where ain't can be replaced with a contraction.

LYRICS: The circus ain't a love story.

Ain't replaces isn't. Taylor most likely chose ain't because it has fewer syllables and fits better in this line. If you go and listen to this line in the song, you'll probably agree that she'd have to restructure it to make isn't fit.

Listen to the song here.

14. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things


In this song, ain't is part of the bridge, where she thanks the people who have stuck by her side no matter what.

LYRICS: Here's to my baby. He ain't reading what they call me lately.

This is another case of ain't being used in place of isn't. I think either word works here, even though ain't has fewer syllables. Ain't fits better with the flow of the bridge as a whole, though.

Listen to the song here. (This is from her concert movie on Netflix. It's out of sync and gets cut off, but it's the best I could find.)

15. ME!


Last but not least, Taylor Swift's latest song shows that she's not done using ain't. To be fair, she co-wrote this song with Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco. I'm pretty sure he actually wrote the line that contains ain't. He's the one who sings it.

LYRICS: There ain't no I in team.

This is another double negative, which ends up meaning there is an I in team. There's not. So, why not just say There is no I in team? Hard telling. Maybe Urie is aware of Taylor's penchant for ain't, or maybe she insisted that he use it. I just think it's ironic that the bridge starts with Spelling is fun, but proceeds to use improper grammar.

Watch the music video here.

Eight of the fifteen songs are singles, which means they're the ones played on the radio that have their own music video. They're more likely to reach people who aren't die-hard fans. Taylor Swift chooses to represent herself to potential fans as a woman who's not afraid to say ain't.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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