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The phrase "no such thing as" can be used to emphasize that something does not exist or is not possible.

In contrast, the expression "very much so" is an emphatic way of answering 'yes' to something or saying that it is true or correct.

Now I have two idioms to convey the ideas emphatically about something does exist or not.

How about asking general (yes/no) questions? Are there some similar phrases or idioms I could use for general questions?

Consider this one.

There really is no such thing as a totally risk-free industry. src

To make it a general sentence, I might say

Is there really such thing as a totally risk-free industry?

Does it sounds idiomatic? Could it be more idiomatic?


Thanks to @epl, I see the weirdness. Cambridge justifies your definition of the word "idiom". However, merriam-webster considers it an idiom.

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    I'm not sure what you're asking here. Are you asking about the sentence "are there ... situation?" How does that relate to your question about 'no such thing as' or 'very much so'? To make that sentence more idiomatic, I would say "Is there a rule about which one..." – Katy Jun 30 at 1:24
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The phrases "no such thing as" and "very much (so)" may not always be considered idioms, since their meanings are the same as one generally might think from the simple meaning of the words.

The phrase "no such thing as" is slightly more suitable for assertions than for questions, but may be used in either case.

For questions, any of the following forms would be common in daily speech:

  • Is there any way for an industry to be totally risk free?

  • Is there any way to have an industry that is risk free?

  • Is industry really very risky?

  • Is industry ever risk free?

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  • Thanks to you, I see the weirdness. Cambridge justifies your definition of the word "idiom". However, merriam-webster considers it an idiom. – RobertH Jul 5 at 7:39
  • The answer is very informative. Thank you.I can imagine some situation where first two sentences would be used, for example, some friends are talking about the risk of investment, one guy says something like those. – RobertH Jul 5 at 7:51
  • I can't imagine a situation where last two sentences would be used. Would you make up one for them? – RobertH Jul 5 at 7:52
  • @RobertH: I'm not sure what you're requesting. The examples have roughly the same use and meaning. What do you want "made up"? – epl Jul 5 at 11:13
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Well, in your example as presently stated, you did not actually make it into a "general sentence" the way I think of one. You instead made it into a question, which you did refer to earlier, so I will go with the impression that an idiomatic question is your goal.

If so, I would correct "Is there really such thing as a totally risk-free industry?" into:

Is there really such a thing as a totally risk-free industry?

To be honest, I do not know why changing from a statement to a question changes the idiom in this way. I recognize that, "There really is no such a thing as a totally risk-free industry" does not sound truly correct ... it sounds awkward and stilted to me. I can only advise that your Original Post question requires an "a" to sound like a "correct" English question (at least in the U.S.).

If "idiomatic" here means "like a native speaker," the above covers that.

But if "idiomatic" here means "I want to be sure to use a highly common idiom here," I do not think this could become more idiomatic (use of more idioms) -- though someone more creative than I may come up with a way -- but one could easily make it less idiomatic (subtracting idioms) by simplifying the sentence to:

Is there a totally risk-free industry?

or (perhaps sounding more natural)

Does a totally risk-free industry [actually] exist?

Note that the "actually" above is a completely optional emphasis.

And since I just showed how it could be made less idiomatic (avoiding idioms), I consider that proof that the (corrected) original is already idiomatic (using an idiom) as it stands, if building in a specific idiom is important to you here.

EDIT: The above "idiom" segment apparently demonstrates my own lack of awareness that non-native English speakers sometimes/often(?) use "idiomatic" to mean "like a native speaker" vs. my very literal interpretation based on the concept of an "idiom." I had to run into that usage several more times before I realized it.

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  • I just realized: I may have misinterpreted your use of the term "idiomatic," which is reflected in my answer. I interpreted "idiomatic" as "use of an idiom," meaning, "I want to use a particular highly-used phrase here, perhaps even as far as a cliche." But having just looked up other definitions/interpretations of "idiomatic," I see this could have been just your way of asking: "Does this sound like a true native speaker?" If it is truly the case that you meant the latter, and I failed to understand that at first, please tell me so I may edit my answer with that new understanding. Thanks! – wiigame Jun 30 at 4:24
  • Your answer is exactly what I want. It's helpful and easily understandable. Thank you so much. BTW, another post seems to explain why there is no "a" there. However, I don't really understand it. Would you please help me excerpt some? – RobertH Jun 30 at 5:42
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    That other post is from a researched scholar it seems! Thanks! :) What StoneyB is saying there is that "NO such thing" is actually the opposite of "A such thing," except that phrase left the common English language around year 1400, in favor of English speakers of the time preferring to say "such A thing" (simple word order). Since a native speaker would never say, "no a such thing" then we also do not say "no such a thing." In short, the positive form includes the "a" (such a thing); the negative form replaces "a" with "no" (no such thing). For this phrase, the word order is changed. – wiigame Jun 30 at 7:04
  • And I edited my answer regarding "idioms" anyway. I could have wiped away that entire segment, but decided to keep my misinterpretation visible as an additional learning for others who might do the same. – wiigame Jun 30 at 7:14
  • Thank you. Both version of "idiomatic" are helpful to me. The key is that, after reading StoneyB's post, you still don't know why "changing from a statement to a question changes the idiom in this way"? – RobertH Jun 30 at 10:45

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