"There is no" vs. "There is not"



There is no month in calendar that does not have a festival.
There is not a month in calendar when there is not a festival.

Do the two sentences mentioned above mean the same thing?
Why or why not?


Posted 2016-02-08T16:21:51.773

Reputation: 361

4Note that month in calendar is not idiomatic. It's completely unnecessary to include *calendar* anyway, since there definitely aren't any "months" that aren't in *the* calendar, but if you are going to include it you need the definite article. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-02-08T16:33:07.213

FumbleFingers, it may be necessary if you want to emphasis the whole year, ie the whole calendar, as "There is no month that does not have a festival." could mean say just the summer months or winter etc. – rkchl – 2016-02-08T17:02:23.280

2@rkchl, I think the opposite is true. If you say "there is no month...", it is implied that you are talking about all the months in the year. If you mean in the summer, I'd expect you to do that. Not that there aren't reasons to use "in the calendar" (although I would prefer "in the year"), but I don't think that is one of them – Sarah – 2016-02-08T17:56:36.517

@rkchl: By default, any assertion of the general form There is no X that [has property Y] strongly implies *no month at all*. For it to reference a subset of all possible months the surrounding text would need to explicitly specify which months are included or excluded. And OP has supplied no such limiting context, so unquestionably the default *all* interpretation must apply. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-02-08T18:20:03.453

These 'negation' questions make me nervous - especially the second one, which I more often hear phrased as "There is not a month in the calendar where there is not a festival". But yes, they mean the same thing. – Msfolly – 2016-02-08T22:37:17.550



Yes, they do have the same meaning but they do not have the same tone.

What I say with tone is that when we talk we don't just spit words through our mouths, we express emotions, we change the tune of our voices.

And it reflects also in language.

To explain this, I will give you an example:

I wish you stopped hitting me.

That is pretty nice isn't it? I am only mildly irritated with your hitting, and I wish you stopped it. Now, let's have a look:

I wish you would stop hitting me!

Wow, beside the exclamation mark, we have a much more strong and concise writing. This means I am irritated, as the previous sentence, but now I'm nervous. The construction wish + would gives us this clearly annoyed view.

For your sentences I believe this is the case. The first sentence is more like an information about the year and its festivals. But the second one is almost an outflow of frustration, like "Ow heck, I only see festivals in this freaking calendar! What's the problem with these people?"

Joao Arruda

Posted 2016-02-08T16:21:51.773

Reputation: 1 538

Not a month implies that you checked every month or are familiar with every month for some reason. – LawrenceC – 2016-04-11T12:55:30.073


They mean the same thing; both not and no indicate negation.

However, the use of no indicates stronger negation.


Posted 2016-02-08T16:21:51.773

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