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  1. #1
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    Default no question or no questions

    Dear Teacher:

    'No' can be used with a singular noun or a plural one. But the difference is confusing to me. Would you tell me the difference in nuance in the following sentences?

    a) There is no library in this town.
    b) There are no libraries in this town.
    c) There isn't a library in this town.
    d) There aren't any libraries in this town.

    e) No letter has reached from him.
    f) No letters have reached from him.


    In the following comparison sentences, why h) is not accepted?

    g) No other boy in his class is taller than him.
    h)* No other boys in his class are taller than him.

    Charlie

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: no question or no questions

    The differences between sentences a & b, c & d, and e & f is expectations.

    If you say that there is no library in this town, the implication is that there might have been (you expected) at least one. If you say there are no libraries in this town, you are implying that there should (you expected) be several. The same is true for your other examples in this group.

    I don't think sentence h is unacceptable. I do, however, think that both sentences g & h should end with the subjective case pronoun he.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: no question or no questions

    Thank you for your reply, mykwyner. It was really helpful. As for the sentence h), grammar books say that 'no other' is followed by a singular noun in a comparison sentence, not by a plural one. I still don't understand the reason for that.

    Charlie

  4. #4
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    Default Re: no question or no questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie
    As for the sentence h), grammar books say that 'no other' is followed by a singular noun in a comparison sentence, not by a plural one. I still don't understand the reason for that.
    "no other" implies "one", like this,

    Singular: No other one person in his class is taller than he is.
    Plural: No other *one persons in his class are taller than he is.

    Please note, either "he" or "him" is acceptable. "him" is common in spoken English, whereas "he" may be required in written English - if your instructor or audience subscribes to the traditional rules of grammar.

    g) No other boy in his class is taller than he/him.

    "he" tells us there's an omitted verb;i.e., taller than he (is tall), whereas "him" does not, and the very reason it's used.

    All the best.

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