I met this in the reading of "The Autobiography and Other Writings of Benjamin Franklin" as follows:

"I will be rowed home, says he. We will not row you, says I."---from the chapter "First Visit to Boston"

Similar question regarding third person singular is "God bless you" that also puzzles me much, I think the correct form should be "God blesses you".

Tag question like "I am your father, aren't I?" is also interesting, why "aren't I" but not "amn't I", because "aren't" is apparently the short form of "are not", but not correct for the matching when the subject is "I".

Please explain, thanks.

  • Since only one question per post is allowed (i.e., tag questions aren't allowed), I'll address it in a comment instead of an answer, but if you want to ask it, you should post it as its own question. Until then, know that "aren't" when used with "I" in "aren't I" isn't actually a contraction of "are not" but of "am not," which goes back to olden times, the British pronunciation of that contraction not including a rhotic R but only a tall A, like "ah" (i.e., "ahn't I"), that same contraction also being the father of the contraction "ain't," which likewise can be a contraction for "am not." Jun 29, 2021 at 3:38
  • Regarding God bless you, see this question Jun 29, 2021 at 7:44
  • Very informative and helpful, thanks, Kate and Benjamin! Jun 29, 2021 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


Benjamin Franklin, in his narration of the exchange, is mocking the demand by the referent "he" that he "will be rowed home," a demand that smacks of entitlement. This mocking is much like when someone asks, "Says who?" and a person responds, "Says I." Yes, the verb should be "say" to be grammatically correct, but since "says" is used in the prior, it is mirrored in what follows for effect, even though it's not grammatically correct, even because it's not grammatically correct.

  • 1
    Similarly with "sez you", in an argument. Jun 29, 2021 at 4:47
  • 1
    @JackO'Flaherty - Yes! Great example!!! Jul 4, 2021 at 22:47

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