"thing" is a countable word. (source). But I can frequently find both

no such a thing ...


no such thing as ...

Which one is correct?

  • 3
    Where do you frequently find such a thing as no such a thing? You really should say more about that. – J.R. Dec 12 '17 at 19:53
  • 1
    I'm a native speaker. I've never heard "no such a thing" before and it sounds incorrect. I have heard it in the affirmative, however. E.g. "How could you do such a terrible thing?" vs "No such terrible thing has ever happened here before." – Dare Dec 12 '17 at 21:05
  • This construction (not such a thing) is often thrown up in Spanish translations. linguee.com/english-spanish/translation/… – Livrecache Dec 13 '17 at 2:11
  • @LIvrecache: that's different. "Not such a thing" is grammatical (though I can't think of many contexts in which it would be idiomatic. There probably are some, though). – Colin Fine Dec 14 '17 at 0:04

Like those who have commented, I find "no such a thing" to be ungrammatical, and think that the instances you have found are mistakes. However, looking in GloWbE (the corpus of Global Web-based English) I find 133 hits for it, against 12745 for "no such thing" - about 1% - Looking at them I suspect that what is going on is that some people actually say "no such thing", but when writing they are unsure whether the phrase is 'supposed' to be "no such thing" or "no such a thing", and they write the latter. I cannot prove this idea.

But certainly, "no such a thing" is not grammatical in any standard English that I am familiar with.

The reason is that "no", as well as being a quantifier, is also a determiner, like "each", and cannot be accompanied by another determiner.

| improve this answer | |
  • I am so happy to see you saying straight out that "no such a thing" is not grammatical in English. It annoys me no end when people waffle these things by refusing to recognize a mistake a native speaker, regardless of educational level, would not make. And it makes the point I often try to make: machines (google, ngrams, etc.) do not internalize language. Humans do. I call these: "Thanks God" mistakes. Cheers, Colin. – Lambie Dec 16 '19 at 17:26

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