The Reason The Contraction For Will Not Isn't "Willn't"

Listen up, grammar enthusiasts.

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The English language is full of odd quirks. For the most part, we accept them for what they are and move on. Rules are rules, y'all! But when you actually stop and think about them (like the fact that there are no eggs in eggplants!), many are truly bizarre.

Take the contraction for "will not," for example. If it were normal (like "could not" and "have not"), it would shorten to "willn't" instead of "won't." You're not alone if you're wondering where the logic is in all that. And, like most grammar-related things, the answer goes back centuries.

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The folks at Reader's Digest were kind enough to break it all down for us. In Old English, the verb willan (which meant to wish or will) had two forms: wil for the present tense and wold for the past tense. Eventually, pronunciation evolved from wool to wel to woll to ool.

A consensus wasn't reached until the 16th century when wil ultimately became "will," and wold became our "would." As RD points out, however, the most popular negative verb form remained woll not—This contracted to wonnot, which modern English later turned into "won't."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how "won't" found its way into our modern English language.

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