When to use “no” and “not”

When to use NO and NOT

When to use NO and NOT


Being back in the UK means getting to spend time with my beautiful nephew and nieces. However when they are little terrors, who move at 100km/hour, you need to stay on your toes and know how to say NO. This got me thinking about how and when we use the two negative words NO and NOT in the English language. I know this is an issue for many Spaniards speaking English, so let’s see if this post can help.

A generic rule, which should help a lot, is the following:
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NO negates the noun while NOT negates the verb.



1)  Used for yes/no questions:

“Do you want any tea?”

No, I don’t want any tea.”

2)  Before a noun without an article:

There are no trains after 1am.

3)  Can be used before a noun with an adjective (except any/many and much/enough):

There are no good restaurants in this area.


1)    Precedes a noun that has an article:

This is not a cat. It’s a dog.

2)    Before: Any/many and much/enough:

There are not [aren’t] any good English teachers in Madrid.

There are not [aren’t] many good beaches in Valencia.

There is not [isn’t] much food on the table.

There is not [isn’t] enough food on the table.

3)    Makes a verb negative:

I am not a pilot. I will not have enough time. I do not want to go to work.

Now that we’ve seen their uses, let’s take a look at the positioning of the words:

No is used before the noun or at the beginning of the sentence in yes/no answers.

Not is used after the auxiliary verb.

  • I do not [don’t] want any suffering.
  • I want no suffering.
  • He does not [doesn’t] have enough time.
  • He has no time.

I hope that this has been helpful. Go and put it into practice!

Publicado el by admin Publicado en English TIPS, Grammar topics, MAGAZINE

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