Could you explain what "No, not Anna" means? If I am right, "No" means that Anna can't go to the party but what about "not Anna"?

  • Did you invite guests to our party on Saturday? ... Anna?
  • No, not Anna. She said she didn’t like parties and couldn’t dance.

PS. Before Anna there was some phrases about another man. There is only "No".

  • What about Stephen?
  • No. He said he had a few days’ holiday and (he) was going to Italy.

I don't understand the difference.


  • You are asking if Anna has been invited to the party and the answer is that Anna wasn't invited because she doesn't like parties and can't dance.
    – anouk
    Apr 26, 2020 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


It's simply just a case of the speaker explaining their statement of "no".

Just saying "yes" or "no" to a question (in fact, being monosyllabic in general) can be considered rude. The shortest contradictory statements tend to be along the lines of "no it isn't" rather than just "no".

Another reason for adding the detail is to qualify exactly what you are saying "no" to. Taking your example, if you asked "can I invite Anna?" and receive the answer "no", it wouldn't be clear if the host was against inviting Anna personally of just against any additional guests in general. By saying "no, not Anna" it makes it very clear this is specifically about Anna.

  • Before that there was about another man: - What about Stephen? - No. He said he had a few days’ holiday and (he) was going to Italy.
    – Sergei
    Apr 26, 2020 at 18:27
  • As you see only "No."
    – Sergei
    Apr 26, 2020 at 18:27
  • 1
    There is no difference meaningwise. The speaker just chooses to name Anna and not Stephen.
    – anouk
    Apr 26, 2020 at 18:44

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