Adding "no" to the beginning of a sentence to negate it



A: "Let's eat."
B: "No let's eat." (I don't want to eat)

A: "Wash your hands."
B: "No wash your hands." (I don't want to wash my hands)

A: "I am going shopping."
B: "No I am going shopping." (don't go shopping)

Are those sentences starting with NO legitimate?

Joe Kim

Posted 2015-06-03T21:13:02.613

Reputation: 2 264

Negation in English is surprisingly complicated. We have a whole tag for the many questions about it: [tag:negation]. – Ben Kovitz – 2015-06-04T17:10:48.803



No, this form is not acceptable adult English.

You would need to further negate the statement or supply an alternate preference:

A: Let's eat.
B: No. I don't want to eat.
B: No. I want to play.

That being said, it's very common for children, particularly those just learning speech patterns at around ages 3-5, to use a form like this.

So, a parent/child conversation may go something like this:

Parent: It's time to wash your hands.
Child: No wash hands!


Posted 2015-06-03T21:13:02.613

Reputation: 25 211

"No handwashing!" – Taemyr – 2015-06-04T08:53:31.373


We would have to "negate" the following sentences in different ways, because they're different kinds of statements.

SUGGESTION -- by offering a different or contrary suggestion
A: "Let's eat."
--Let's not eat (now).

ORDER/COMMAND -- by refusing
A: "Wash your hands."
--"I won't wash my hands" or "I don't want to wash my hands" or simply "No".

DECLARATIVE STATEMENT -- by contradicting
A: "I am going shopping."
--You are not going shopping. or simply "No, you're not."


Posted 2015-06-03T21:13:02.613

Reputation: 116 610