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I would like to know why there is difference in the following two sentences:

"there's no time to lose" vs "there is not a moment to lose".

Namely in the first sentence on writes "no" in the second "not". Duolingo claims that one can not use "NO" in the second sentence instead of "NOT" and I would like to know why.

I.e. why can't I write "there is no a moment to lose"?

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The main difference is that in the first example, time is being used as a non-count noun. It's being treated as infinitely divisible. Time has a count noun usage where it's a synonym for event or occurrence but that's not the meaning of time being used here.

On the other hand, moment is a count noun. We can have one moment, a few moments, or various other usages that treat a moment as a countable object.

Because of this difference, we talk about "a moment" that we either have or don't have; but we talk about "some time" or "no time" if we haven't got any.

Duolingo claims that one can not use "NO" in the second sentence instead of "NOT" and I would like to know why.

Duolingo is correct.

We can use "no" as a kind of indefinite article (like German kein) indicating lack of something. We can't use this "indefinte article" in combination with another definite article.

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  • Thank you for this answer! I made a mistake in my question... Now it is corrected. I would like to know whether it makes sense to say "There is no a moment to lose"
    – Dmitri
    Sep 23 '19 at 22:25
  • @Aguest you could say "not a moment.." or "no moment..." but not "no a moment..."
    – AIQ
    Sep 23 '19 at 22:57

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