Are you not very thankful to have such a fine place to live at?
—Jane Eyre

Being familiar with the expression "aren't you […]," it's quite strange to meet this one. Is it the expression used just in the writer's age, or is it still prevalent?

2 Answers 2


"Are you not" is definitely a far less common phrase these days. It has largely been replaced, as you suggest, by the phrase "aren't you" and other similar phrases.

However, with that said, it can certainly still be heard and read from time to time. It is very appropriate, in fact, in many circumstances. It tends to sound very formal (even a bit snooty if used improperly), but can be used to put emphasis on the not.

A: Alright, let's go; it's time to leave.
B: Hold on just a minute!
A: What, are you not ready? It's been an hour!

Probably not the greatest example, but hopefully you get the idea.

For comparison, and because I like these, an Ngram showing the usage of "aren't you" overtaking that of "are you not" over the last ~250 years:

Google Ngram comparing the usage of the phrases "are you not" and "aren't you"

  • More common in your example I think would be "What? Are you still not ready?"
    – Matt
    Feb 13, 2013 at 16:46
  • @Matt Yeah, it's a stretch. I couldn't think of a decent example off the top of my head. Feb 13, 2013 at 19:09
  • 2
    Considering that we were taught in school that "aren't" was forbidden and "are not" must be used at the beginning of the 1990s, I get the impression that our teacher was way behind the development of "current" language...
    – Stephen
    Feb 13, 2013 at 19:19

The Corpus of Contemporary American English shows 4188 instances of aren't you (411 for the years between 2010-2012), and 375 instances of are you not (42 for the years between 2010-2012).

Are you not worried that all the gains that have been achieved over the past year might be lost?

Are you not teacher Mbele's son?

Why are you not making loans?

Are you not is used less frequently than aren't you, but that doesn't mean it is not used anymore.

For comparison, this is what the Corpus of Historical American English shows.

Aren't you


Are you not


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .