'Has no student used this previously?'

What is the exact meaning of the sentence above?

Maybe, I think the meaning of the sentence is 'I think that no one has used this previously.' Am I right? If not, could you tell me the exact meaning of the sentence?

  • 2
    The statement version is "No student has used this previously." Does that help you understand the meaning of the question?
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:29
  • Yes, you are correct and stangdon is more precise. Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:37
  • But it could be paraphrased "I think a student may have used this previously. Am I wrong?"
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 12:24
  • Yes, that question can be asked in an incredulous tone, in which case it would be similar to "Hasn't a student used this previously?".
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


The exact, pedantic meaning is pretty much as you suggest - the questioner is asking if zero students have used this in the past.

Idiomatically, the questioner is probably expressing surprise that 'this' - presumably a tool or resource - has not been used in the past by any student, with perhaps the implication that this resource is obvious, and/or there's some major disadvantage that the questioner has not noticed yet.

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