According to this website, "You must put an article in front of a singular count noun.".

So my question is "There was no student" is a wrong sentence, isn't it?

& "There were no students" is the correct one, right? "No students" means not any students or not all students.

Since "student" is countable singular noun, so we have to say "no students" not "no student"

  • My grammar book says that both can be used (plural nouns and singular nouns), depending on the context.
    – Cardinal
    Sep 6, 2016 at 8:31
  • 1
    "There were students on the bus" ~ "There were no students on the bus". The negator "no" (a negative determiner) is of course required with the latter, but with positive plural NPs, a determiner is optional. So you can say "there were twenty students on the bus" (quantified), or "there were students on the bus" (unquantified). You can also say "There was a student on the bus" and the negative "There was no student on the bus", though in the latter case the plural "were no students" is often preferred.
    – BillJ
    Sep 6, 2016 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


I hope you read this sentence on the website:

Note: This page contains short, generalized information about this enormously complex aspect of English grammar.

Anyway, the page you are reading is titled Articles. But there are other things that can go before singular count nouns. Things such as numbers (one student), the word "no" (no student), possessive pronouns (her student), demonstrative pronouns (that student). All these things, including articles, are often called determiners. And usually you need a determiner before a singular count noun.


A: Did you see a student in the parking lot?

B1: No. There was no student in the parking lot.


B2: No. There were no students in the parking lot.

Both responses are correct.

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