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I want to tell my friend that bus didn't come today (in the morning). Which of the following sentences are acceptable:

  1. There was no bus today.
  2. There was not a bus today.

I know first one is right because I have heard many sentences like this. But is second one right? Thank you.

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  • Why do you think the first one is right? What research have you done already? Do you think the second option is acceptable or simply wrong?
    – randomhead
    Mar 1 at 21:51
  • @randomhead because most of time I have heard and read sentences like first one. I have not listened second one often.
    – ramanujan
    Mar 1 at 21:54
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    The second one is grammatically correct, but not at all natural. Can't say why
    – gotube
    Mar 1 at 22:01
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    @gotube ok. Thanks.So native speakers usually use first one.
    – ramanujan
    Mar 1 at 22:05

1 Answer 1

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The first sentence applies when both parties have a specific bus or bus line in mind. It is a compact way of saying: "The expected bus did not arrive today." The focus is on the lack of occurrence of something expected.

The second sentence has no limitations and so its reference is vague. It could refer to any bus on the street, in the city, or even on the planet, and so is less applicable when the behavior of a specific bus or bus line is at issue. Even if you did use it, you would be more likely to say something like: "not a single bus" to focus on the quantity.

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