What’s the full sentence for ‘no’?

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“If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”
No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough: if others don’t love me I would rather die than live—I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you, or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash its hoof at my chest—” (Jane Eyre)

Listenever

Posted 2013-03-02T12:46:37.380

Reputation: 25 811

2I think this question was improperly closed, because the closevoters did not realize that bare No is often classified as a one-word sentence or as a pro-form standing for a complete sentence. I urge it be reopened, so that closure will not cause visitors to overlook it. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-03-30T20:40:47.067

@StoneyB I think the problem here was that the question isn't clear from either the title or the description. – Masked Man – 2014-03-31T06:03:11.957

The actual question is unfortunately only in the title, but it seems clear enough to me. – snailplane – 2014-04-02T05:08:39.803

Answers

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No denies a proposition which precedes it. How far back the negation extends must be inferred from the context, which happily is clear here: the speaker denies the proposition you would not be without friends. Her response may be paraphrased:

No; that is not so, for I know that under the circumstances described in your conditional clause, I should think well of myself; but that is not enough to justify the conclusion you draw: I would be ‘without friends’, for that requires that others love me. And if others don't love me, &c

StoneyB on hiatus

Posted 2013-03-02T12:46:37.380

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