3

Here's the context.

I have gone on a trip and am staying at a hotel. I just used the swimming-pool and came back to my room. And I found out that I've left my wallet there. I asked the front desk to check if my wallet is there. In this situation, I'd like to say like this.

  1. If there is not any wallet there, let me know.

  2. if there is not my wallet there, let me know.

  3. if there's no wallet there, let me know.

I'm comfortable saying #1, 2, 3. Then how about this?

  1. If there's no my wallet there, let me know.

It's awkward because 'no' represents 'not any'. I would say #1 instead of #4. Am I right?

  • 3
    I would just say Please let me know if you find my wallet there. – Michael McGriff Aug 18 '15 at 17:24
26
  1. If there is not any wallet there, let me know.

  2. If there is not my wallet there, let me know.

  3. If there's no wallet there, let me know.

  4. If there's no my wallet there, let me know.

Sentence (1) is kind of ok, but we would rarely ever use this kind of sentence without a contraction of is not:

  • If there is not any wallet there, let me know. (awkward)
  • If there isn't any wallet there, let me know. (fine)

Sentence number (2) is grammatical but is extremely infelicitous. It's a bad sentence and breaks the general principles of information packaging in English. Generally speaking we don't use definite noun phrases in existential there is constructions. The phrase my wallet is definite in this example (we know which wallet the speaker is talking about). The main reason to use this type of construction is to avoid using indefinite noun phrases as Subjects. This next sentence is not very good:

  • A cafe is on the corner. (A bit awkward)

The reason is that a cafe is indefinite (we don't know which cafe we're talking about). The following sentence is better:

  • There's a cafe on the corner.

But in the sentence:

  • If my wallet is there ...

... the phrase my wallet is definite. We don't have any reason to use a there is construction. If we do it sounds bad:

  • If there is my wallet there ... (very awkward)

Sentence (3) is fine. Instead of a negated verb, it uses the negative determiner no (a determiner is one of those words that goes before noun like the, a, this, my, some, any) . The word no means zero. It goes with the noun wallet, it doesn't go with the verb BE.

Sentence (4)

Sentence (4) is different from the other sentences. It is not a good sentence, but unlike the others it is also ungrammatical. The reason is that it uses two determiners together. We cannot do this in modern English:

  • *a my dog (wrong)
  • *the his problem (wrong)
  • *the some people (wrong)

Sentence (4) uses the determiners no and my together:

  • *no my wallet (wrong)

The best sentence from examples (1-4), therefore is number (3). Example (1) is a bit awkward or pompous and (2) is very awkward. Example (4) is ungrammatical. However, if we want to make clear that it's my wallet that we are concerned about, it is best to just use my wallet as the subject of the clause:

  1. If my wallet isn't there, let me know.
3

There is generally means exists and used when you want to know if any, or how many things/objects exists

Is there any wallet on the desk?

How many wallets are on the desk?

There is no wallet on the desk.

There are five wallets on the desk.

There are many wallets on the desk

Is there anything on the desk? there is a wallet on the desk

Here you ask if something is somewhere or not, the question is where is something

Where is my wallet?

My wallet is here, my wallet is there, my wallet is on the desk

If my wallet is there, let me know

If my wallet isn't there, let me know

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