I am unable to clarify the difference between No and Not,

As per my knowledge I have read that "Not" is used with helping verb always but in the following question "Not" is used with main verb (Be). Is is right or wrong If right then plz define.

He is a good teacher

He is not a good teacher

  • This effectively duplicates a closed question on this forum: english.stackexchange.com/questions/64369/… It was closed because the answer is readily found at other sites, e.g., myenglishteacher.eu/question/…
    – KWinker
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 4:24
  • I don't think I have enough information to provide a complete answer, but I think a good way to view it is that "not" is used to negate something (so, "negative" = "not positive", "boy" = "not girl", "wrong" = "not right", although some would insist on recognizing the neutral options of each example here). So something either "is" or "is not"
    – elmer007
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 18:52
  • "To be or not to be, that is the [OP's] question"
    – elmer007
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


No and Not are "not" interchangeable in the same way "Yes" and "Is" aren't.

Your examples;

"He is a good teacher" doesn't sound right when we say "He yes a good teacher", likewise "He is not a good teacher" is correct while "He is no a good teacher" is just wrong.

No is a great response where as Not describes the state of something. For example, "JAVA is not a real programming language". Did you ever learn JAVA? No, I did not.

  • On the other hand, he is no teacher is grammatically correct, though it doesn't have quite the same meaning as he is not a teacher.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 23:50

No is a determiner, it must precede a noun, and it will take the place of an article in things that can attach to a noun.

I took the ball from Suzy.

I took no ball from Suzy.

Exception is where no can be used to answer questions like yes.

No, I don't want to go.

I told him no. I'm not going.

Not is an adverb.

It can precede infinitives and gerunds.

I wanted him not running through my lawn.

Not to be difficult, but I think we should leave.

She was only concerned about him not going to the store.

But not present participles:

Go into the not running van and start it for me. (Wrong, has to be Go into the van that is not running ...)

Otherwise, an auxillary verb is required when using not and if one is not otherwise present, do is used:

I had gone to the park.

I had not gone to the park. (Auxillary there so just add "not.")

I had 2 pieces of candy.

I did not have 2 pieces of candy. (Had in the previous sentence is not an auxillary verb, so one is needed.)

The books were not stacked properly.

Someone not stacked the books properly. (Wrong. Sounds like a 2-year old learning to speak or a caveman.)

Someone did not stack the books properly. (Ok.)

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