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What’s all the fuss over ain’t about? Is there really anything wrong with the word? Or is it even a word? The colloquialism ain’t is a nonstandard contraction of the following: “am not,” “are not,” “is not,” “have not,” and “has not.” It is also used in some dialects as a contraction for “do not,” “does not,” and “did not.” For example, “We ain’t got any milk left.”

It derives from the late 18th century word amn’t, which is a contraction of “am not.” Amn’t and the related word an’t are rarely used anymore. There are several antiquated non-standard contractions. Hain’t means “has not” or “have not.” And baint and bain’t mean “be not.”

The validity of ain’t has been widely debated. On one hand, many people consider it to be an acceptable contraction in everyday speech. But on the other hand, it seems that just as many people consider its usage improper and simply “bad English.” There is no use denying how commonly ain’t appears in some of the most beloved expressions, such as:

• If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

• He ain’t what he used to be.

• You ain’t heard (or seen) nothing yet.

• Say it ain’t so, Joe!

• Ain’t it the truth!

Do you think ain’t is a real word, worthy of acceptance in common speech? Let us know, below.

Wall Street Brokers Rejected in Ads

AP Online September 8, 2002 | BRIAN STEINBERG 00-00-0000 NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street and Madison Avenue never cross _ in New York City, it’s geographically impossible. On television, however, the two boulevards intersect constantly, and the result can sometimes be a rubberneck’s delight. see here chinese food menu

In this case, the victim at the scene of any resulting accident would seem to be the venerable Wall Street broker.

Years ago, financial workers were venerated in ads. Well-to-do people in restaurants and town squares would shush themselves in a flash to glean any bit of advice from someone whose broker worked at E.F. Hutton. When celebrated actor John Houseman told consumers how Smith Barney made money “the old-fashioned way,” well, it almost made one proud to be a banker.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

“The public’s skepticism with the whole financial services industry is at an all-time high,” said Ken Bernhardt, a marketing professor at Georgia State University. How long financial marketers capitalize on such feelings “will depend upon what kind of response they get in the marketplace,” he added.

The latest assault on Wall Street’s integrity comes from a series of ads promoting Charles Schwab Corp. The commercials, which have run since May, poke brokerage-house workers in the ribs so many times that its a wonder any of them can still breathe.

“I’m looking at your portfolio,” says one broker on the phone in one of the ads as he scans a Chinese-food menu. “You’ve got to buy.” Another broker echoes the sentiment, telling a prospective stock investor that “I’m for picking. I’m for buying.” When one member of the crew mistakenly utters the word “sell,” the floor grows as quiet as the crowd in one of those old E.F. Hutton spots.

In a separate commercial, a bus filled with commuters mulls over the fact that all of them got the same so-called “hot tip” from their individual brokers.

The most damning example comes from a third ad, in which a senior manager commands his staff to “tell your clients this one is red hot. This one is ‘en fuego.’ Just don’t mention the fundamentals. They stink.” In recent years, brokers have been cast as everything from useless to hopelessly old-fashioned. Dot-com era ads from Ameritrade Holding Corp., in which redheaded office boy Stuart cajoled fuddy-duddies to buy stocks online, seemed to say that Wall Street could only get in your way.

As the economy became more fragile and the markets more volatile, however, financial services firms took on a hand-holding tone, urging investors to allow the firms to guide them through stormy weather to sunshine.

Finance mavens like TD Waterhouse Group Inc., MassMutual’s Oppenheimer Funds and Stillwell Financial Inc.’s Janus Capital mutual funds portrayed themselves as rock-solid entities that could help investors make it through the rain.

A heartwarming ad series from Morgan Stanley has financial professionals talk about their emotional interaction with customers, even going so far as to put up a business card on screen as the commercial concludes. The tagline? “One client at a time.” Of course, some caution against reading too much into the Schwab ads _ including the folks at Schwab.

The San Francisco broker has always portrayed itself as “a different kind of company,” says Peter DeLuca, the company’s senior vice president of brand advertising. in our site chinese food menu

Yet, Schwab may once have found itself in the very same place as those entities it now lampoons. The company made its name as a discount broker and online trader. These days, Schwab sees itself as something decidedly different. “We’re not one of the other guys,” says DeLuca.

Still, tough times have some wondering if it’s wise for any financial firm to make a marketing move.

“Is it a good idea for these firms to be advertising now?” asks Paul Argenti, a professor of management and corporate communications at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business. “If you look at how people are looking at business, it’s probably not a good time to be trying to build your reputation and credibility in the financial services sector.” Also risky for Schwab is positioning itself against Wall Street’s broader business, Argenti adds.

Besides, maybe this is just what it is _ a single broker’s ad, nothing more.

“It’s an oversimplification to view this as a view of Madison Avenue, ” notes Gerri Leder, a Baltimore-based marketing consultant who once handled such duties for both Legg Mason Wood Walker and the former Alex. Brown.

Whatever the intentions behind it, Schwab’s recent blitz breaks taboos, and may stand the test of time because it does. Usually, says Argenti, companies in general ought to “remain above the fray” in commercials.

In this case, however, says Bernhardt, the marketing professor, Schwab is “negative on others, but ends up with a positive message.” The ad “may acceptably violate the principle of not being negative.” One small step for Schwab, one big step backward for Wall Street workers who haven’t gotten in step with the new swing of things.

BRIAN STEINBERG

614 Comments

  1. That guy over there. -  April 4, 2014 - 10:24 am

    I think that if “ain’t” is not a word than other words including, isn’t, haven’t, (ect.) should also be inproper grammar.

    Reply
    • Robert Bonanno -  April 4, 2014 - 1:37 pm

      Perhaps before you argue the validity of ain’t which goes back a long time,I recommend that you type Improper instead of inproper ,because Inproper is improper ! The force be with you!

      Reply
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