I was reading news on internet and stumbled upon phrase "offered no explanation". In that moment I thought about another grammar construction "didn't offer an explanation" which is having the same sense for me. I wonder is there any reason for people in America to choose such grammatical construction? Could the author use "didn't offer an explanation" without any loose of sense. The text is (full text here):

James’ investigators are working with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been conducting a criminal investigation into Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, for two years. James and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are both Democrats.

James’ office offered no explanation for what prompted the change in its approach to the investigation or why it chose to announce it publicly. CNN was first to report the development.

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    "Offered no explanation" sounds meaner to me than "didn't offer an explanation", sounds a little bit more intentional. I would say they are equivalent though. You could use "didn't offer explanation" to mean it was an oversight. "Offered no explanation" sounds to me like someone requested an explanation and didn't get it.
    – E.Aigle
    May 26, 2021 at 13:02
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    Journalists, whether in the US or other English-speaking countries, tend to express themselves in as few words as possible. Did not offer any explanation means the same but is rather 'wordy'. May 26, 2021 at 13:06
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    I second @KateBunting. This is a newspaper and it's written to be terse and to the point. May 26, 2021 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


The two forms “offered no information” and “did not offer any information” are equivalent in meaning and formality. To my knowledge, both are grammatical in both British and American English. In American speech, “didn’t offer any” would be much more common than either of the first two forms.

In formal American writing, those who stylistically prefer a concise style will favor “offered no” whereas those who stylistically prefer a more conversational tone will favor “did not offer any.”

EDIT After writing this answer, I saw Kate Buntings comment. She is of course correct. Journalists and in certain circumstances lawyers have restrictions on how many column inches or pages their writing can be. So, in those circumstances, being concise is not just a matter of personal preference.

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