Do both not a and not any sound natural In the following context? Are they both correct?

Parliament elections in india are near. Today an opinion poll was held that says Abc party will win 250 seats, Xyz party will win 100 seats and others will not win a seat/any seats.

As both mean others will win zero seats so I think both forms are correct. Can someone explain?

3 Answers 3


'Not a' is usually an emphatic form, but can also be used in set expressions.

You 'breathe not a word about' a surprise party, for example.

After the disaster, not a word was spoken by the survivors, who were all in shock.


In the context given you would use "any seats"

You could use "a seat" but would phrase it as:

Xyz party will win 100 seats and others will not win a single seat


Yes, both are technically correct sentences, but it's a matter of emphasis. "A seat" doesn't sound natural because the quantity just sounds understated. It would sound natural if the quantity wasn't the emphasis in the other statements:

"Abc party will win a seat, Xyz party will win a seat, and others will not win a seat."

If the whole point of the sentence is the number, then I think you usually point it out a bit more. Here it is especially obvious because it is in parallel with other statements where the quantity is the most important information and "a seat" seems to break the rhythm.

  • For it to be appropriate, there would have to be a situation where the party is not eligible to win more than one seat. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 0:56

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