More specifically I'm talking about the present simple and continuous, for example I know you can answer a yes/no question whose answer is negative like this:

  • Is he in college? No, he isn't.

  • Are they eating? No, they aren't.

But would it be correct to write it like this?

  • Is he in college? No, he's not.

  • Are they eating? No, they're not.

1 Answer 1


Yes, "they aren't" and "they're not" mean the same thing, and "he isn't" and "he's not" also mean the same. There is some regional variation in terms of which way of saying things is more common. There may also be a subtle difference of emphasis, but it's difficult to pin down - perhaps in a noisy environment, "they aren't" might more easily be misunderstood than "they're not" (with its uncontracted negative).

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