“I’ve not” and “I’ll not” ~vs~ “I haven’t” and “I won’t” -- Why?
March 8, 2014 10:09 AM Subscribe
I’ve noticed that I’m increasingly reading “I’ve not” in place of “I haven’t” and “I’ll not” in place of “I won’t.” When I was growing up (the 70s), these expressions were exceedingly rare. I knew they existed, of course, but to me they seemed redolent of century-old books: “I’ll not brook such behavior in my classroom, Tom Sawyer!” “Fezziwig! I’ve not heard his voice since my youth.” But in the last 15 years or so, I've been seeing these phrasings more and more often in colloquial writing — other blogs, Amazon reviews, internet discussions, MeFi etc. I don’t seem to hear these forms spoken, which adds to their air of formality.
posted by ROTFL to Writing & Language (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My question: Where did this revival come from? Was it a Britishism that drifted across the pond? Was it a US regionalism that spread? Was there a particular influential writer that started the resurgence? If you use these forms, did you grow up using them or did you adopt them recently? Extra credit: Why don’t I ever see forms like “she’s not” (for “she has not”) and “they’ll not”?