A. There is not contaminated water.

B. There is no contaminated water.

C. There is not any contaminated water.

Would you please tell me if they are correct grammatically and if they would mean the same thing?

  • 3
    C would usually be contracted (in anything other than formal English) as "There isn't any contaminated water." (But the full form is still correct, of course.) – Nathan Tuggy Sep 12 '15 at 18:44

A is wrong, but B and C are OK. B and C mean the same thing.

Not is an adverb and can modify a verb or other modifier. It cannot modify a non-proper noun (but can modify a proper noun or pronoun - e.g. "not him", "not them", "not James", etc.)

No is a determiner - it falls into the same category of words as this, that, these, those, a/an, the, etc. This means is that

  • it will modify a noun, and
  • be the word right before it (taking the "spot" where an article would fall otherwise).

If it's not the word right before the noun, use not (as C illustrates).


We can make a word, expression or clause negative by putting not before it.

  • I do not intend to resign.

  • Ask James, not his wife.

  • Not surprisingly, they got divorced within a couple of months.

No is used in a different way. It is used with a noun or an –ing form to mean ‘not any’.

  • No students joined the program. (= There weren’t any students who joined the program.)

  • No man is perfect. (= There aren’t any perfect men.)

  • She has got no children. (= She hasn’t got any children.)

  • This would probably be better if you made direct conversions of the first sentences to similar meanings using "no". – Nathan Tuggy Sep 12 '15 at 18:42
  • I've made those examples to understand the use of "NOT". You can use your way but should be grammatically perfect. – Bhagyesh Joshi. Sep 12 '15 at 18:45
  • Right; I'm just saying that a direct comparison between pairs of sentences that mean the same thing but say it in different ways is likely to be more helpful. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 12 '15 at 18:47
  • Exactly . and Thank you for making answer better to Understand . – Bhagyesh Joshi. Sep 12 '15 at 18:53

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