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No or Not?

Perfect English Grammar

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1: We use 'no' to reply to a question.
  • A: Are you coming to the party? B: No.
  • A: Did she go home? B: No, she's over there.
2: We use 'no' before a noun. We don't use 'a / an / the'. It means 'not any'.
  • There is no bread left.
  • She has no money.
3: We use 'no' before a noun that has an adjective but no article.
  • There are no small sandwiches..
  • No young people went to the meeting.
4: We use 'no' before a gerund
  • No smoking!
  • No fishing!
We can't use 'not' and 'no' together in standard English. It's possible in some dialects of English but it is not traditionally correct.
  • We have no friends.
  • NOT: We don't have no friends.
No and not any
No = not any (though 'no' is a little stronger)
  • There is no bread.
  • There isn't any bread.
We don't use 'no' with 'any'.
  • NOT: There is no any bread.
We use 'not' in almost every other situation. Sometimes we shorten it to 'n't'.

1: It's used to make a verb negative.
  • She does not want to go.
  • We didn't find the money.
2: It's used with an adjective without a noun.
  • That is not okay.
  • A: How is your brother? B: Not well.
3: It's used with an adverb.
  • Not surprisingly, it was dark when we left.
4: It's used with any / much / many / enough
  • A: Do you like coffee? B: Not much.
  • NOT: A: Do you like coffee? B: No much.
  • A: How many books do you have? B: Not enough!
  • NOT: How many books do you have? B: No enough!
  • Not many people came to the meeting.
  • NOT: No many people came to the meeting.
4: It's used with nouns that have 'a / an / the'.
  • There is not a cat in the garden.
  • OR: There is no cat in the garden.
  • NOT: There is no a cat in the garden.
  • A: Who went to the meeting? B: Not the students.
  • OR: A: Who went to the meeting? B: No students.
  • NOT: A: Who went to the meeting? B: No the students.
5: We use 'not' before a pronoun or noun in short replies.
  • A: Who ate the chocolate? B: Not me.
  • A: Who went to the party? B: Not Luke.
  • A: Who is going to pay for this? B: Not you.
No good
Exception: we can use either 'no' or 'not' with 'good'.
  • It's no good = this is a fixed expression that means that it's not useful or interesting.
  • It's not good = this is the normal negative.
Try an exercise about 'no' and 'not' here.
Try another exercise about 'no' and 'not' here.