Is ‘if not looking’ commonly used and grammatically correct as a shortened version of 'if you are not looking for/to)'? For example, I received a text advertising health insurance. It ended with a sentence that goes ‘Text no if not looking’. I figured they meant I should text no if I’m not looking to purchase health insurance. Did they use ‘if not looking’ correctly in this context? Is it even grammatically correct?

1 Answer 1


Text no if not looking.

Your interpretation is right.

This isn't a proper sentence. Such notes may be quite common in short advertisement texts and should be understood to mean something like

Text 'no' if you're not looking for this service.

They are not a good resource for learning English and are not worth evaluating.

  • I’d add that such clipped syntax is often described as telegraphic. The term dates from the days when telegrams were an important means of communication. The cost of sending telegrams was usually charged by the word (or even character), so words that were not essential to a recipient’s figuring out the meaning were typically omitted. Commented May 14 at 15:26

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