Is "no" - a negative pronoun, adverb or something else?

  1. There was no reply.

  2. The song was no strain on her voice.

What do you think about this?

Negative sentences with introductory "there" are formed in the usual way for the verbs which are their predicates, that is, by means of appropriate auxiliaries for all the verbs but to be. In the latter case two negative constructions are possible:

a) either with the negative pronoun no, as in:

There was no sign of him in the hall.

There is no knowing when he will come...(http://doclecture.net/1-7538.html)

  • 1
    In this context it's a quantifier, like one, two, some, many. A quantifier is a sort of determiner, which is the class to which articles (a, the) also belong. Nov 3, 2015 at 23:56
  • 1
    Sorry,but that's probably a highly academic view on problem. I have never heard of "quantifier" and in my school we don't single out "determiners"
    – Daisy
    Nov 4, 2015 at 0:03
  • 2
    If your teachers are resolutely traditionalist and turn their backs on everything that's happened in English grammar for the last eighty years, you may preserve them from shock by calling it an adjective. But note that it unlike an adjective it can take the same syntactic role as an article.and unlike an adjective it does not inflect -- there's no noer, noest. Nov 4, 2015 at 0:12
  • 1
    If you don't single out "determiners", then you aren't learning a useful version of English grammar.
    – user230
    Nov 4, 2015 at 2:42
  • 1
    @ASTPace That's probably a good thing. There's too little critical evaluation of grammar among the general public.
    – chepner
    Nov 4, 2015 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


It's not a pronoun because it doesn't take the place of a noun - not by itself anyway. No one/nobody/nothing/nowhere would be some of the "pronoun forms" of no.

No generally modifies a noun so that makes it technically an adjective. When modifying a verb or adjective not is used.

No is also a typically a determiner - which can be considered a special type of adjective - because it can occupy the "spot" where an article or word like this/that/these/those would go.

  • Then please,tell me in what case "no" is a negative pronoun?
    – Daisy
    Nov 4, 2015 at 11:55
  • It's never a pronoun.
    – LawrenceC
    Nov 4, 2015 at 15:41
  • But I gave you a theoretical material that says the opposite:Negative sentences with introductory "there" are formed a) either with the negative pronoun no, as in: There was no sign of him in the hall.....
    – Daisy
    Nov 6, 2015 at 20:34
  • Your theoretical material is wrong or copied incorrectly. Well - I have heard words like his, her said to be possessive pronouns, but no doesn't have an antecedent like a pronoun does, so I again FWIW your theoretical material is using the wrong terminology IMHO.
    – LawrenceC
    Nov 6, 2015 at 21:12
  • And a property of any pronoun is that you can replace it with an actual noun. You can't do that with e.g. "no sign" - the noun is already there.
    – LawrenceC
    Nov 6, 2015 at 21:21

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