Difference between No and Not

Key Difference: The primary difference between ‘no’ and ‘not’ relies mostly on the fact that no is commonly used as an interjection to imply that something is negative. Alternately, ‘not’ is primarily used as an adverb, i.e. used to negate a verb. Simply put, no is used as it or to negate a noun, whereas not is used to negate a verb.

NoBoth ‘no’ and ‘not’ are two different words that have a similar purpose, which is to give a negative response, or to negate something. Basically, they are both used to reply in the negative, i.e. to say no. Due to this, it is understandable that it can be quite confusing as to where and when to use each word. Does it even matter, as both serve the same or rather similar purpose? Actually, yes; even though both the words have similar meanings and purpose, the manner in which they are use differs significantly.

The primary difference between ‘no’ and ‘not’ relies mostly on the fact that no is commonly used as an interjection to imply that something is negative. For example: “Are you a boy? No, I am a girl.” Here the implication is that the speaker is not a boy, but is rather a girl. Alternately, ‘no’ can also be used to negate another word, such as “There is no money.”, which implies that the money is not there or does not exist.

Alternately, ‘not’ is primarily used as an adverb, i.e. used to negate a verb. For example: “I will not dance.” Here, the speaker is saying that they won’t dance.

NotAn easy way to differentiate between ‘no’ and ‘not’ is to note that no is primary used as it, i.e. standing alone in the capacity of an interjection or used to modify a noun, for example “Will you read?” “No”. or “There is no book to read.” In the first example, ‘no’ is being used as is to reply in the negative, whereas in the second one ‘no’ is being used to modify the noun ‘book’ to imply that the book does not exist or is not here.

On the other hand, ‘not’ is primarily used to negate a verb, for example, “I will not read.” Here, the negative is implied on ‘read’ which is being negated by the use of ‘not’.

Comparison between No and Not:

 

No

Not

Definition (Oxford Dictionaries)

Not any.

Used to indicate that something is quite the opposite of what is being specified.

Used to give a negative response.

 

Used with an auxiliary verb or ‘be’ to form the negative.

Used in some constructions with other verbs

Used as a short substitute for a negative clause.

Used to express the negative of other words.

Used as

Interjection

Adverb

Purpose

To give a negative response

To make something else into negative

Used with

As it, or with a noun

Mostly used with a verb

Examples

There’s no address on the envelope.

No biscuits before dinner!

No decisions have been made.

There is no excuse.

No two plants are the same.

Toby is no fool.

These are not my socks.

Toby is not a fool.

He would not say.

She is not there.

They would know if I was telling the truth or not.

Not a single goal was made.

Reference: Oxford Dictionaries (No and Not), English Grammar, Cambridge
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