Let you finish
September 18, 2009
First, this.1 What catches the eye here is the silent “correction” in the transcription of what Kanye West actually said at the MTV awards: it wasn’t “I’m gonna let you finish” but — well, how to write it? This site offers “Ima”, “Im’ma”, “I’mma”, “Im a”, “I’ma”, and “Imma” (as well as a few “I’m gonna”s and even the odd forlorn “I’m going to”). Meanwhile, Hey Zeus in comments here offers the stylishly lowercase “imma”, and the (fascinating!) etymological investigations of Ella at Cherrier and Mark Liberman at Language Log prefer “Imma” and “I’ma”, respectively.
“Imma” is one of those usages that conservative wordfondlers love to rant is destroying the English language as we know it, so I’mma use it myself from now on just to annoy them. But it would be nice to settle on a standardized orthography! What do you think, readers?
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