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"It's (a) no go"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by martin_baires07, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. martin_baires07 Senior Member

    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Argentinean Spanish
    Hi everody! I would like to know how the expression "it´s no go" is normally used in English (in what context?). I would be very thankful if you could provide me with some examples of usage and tell me whether this is a common expression or not. Thank you very much to you all!

    PS: what is the EXACT meaning of it? Because I though it was sth like "no matter how hard you try, it´s of no avail". For instance:
    - Did you tell her that she will be fired if she keeps on being late?
    - Yes, but it´s no go. She won´t listen to me!

    However, people here have come up with some other meanings I was unaware of. HELPPP, PLEASEE...
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    To begin with, it's an informal expression.

    Secondly, I think that "it's a no go" is at least slightly more common.

    And finally, you can use it simply by saying "It's (a) no go for X."
     
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I agree with bibliolept, and would just add that I've also heard "It's a no go on X" as well as "for X".
     
  4. fir

    fir Junior Member

    Tehran, Iran
    farsi
    From Longman:
    1. a place where people are not allowd to enter because of being dangerous: It is a no-go area for the police
    2. a subject not to be discussed because of either being private or offending: She made it clear that her private life was a no-go area

    I think leaving out the area just makes it more informal.

    It 's no go = It is private/It is blocked to people
     
  5. mrr5052 Senior Member

    American English
    "It's a no-go" means that something is not going to happen or didn't happen and it is a pretty common phrase. I have never really heard it in the sense that a road is blocked, however. It is hard to explain so I will just use examples.

    "Are we still going to see the concert this weekend?"
    "It's a no-go, Sam could not get the tickets"


    "It's a no-go on the pizza. The shop was closed"



    "Did you kiss her last night?"
    "It was a no-go. I guess she didn't like me."


    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Smsh Junior Member

    Dutch
    I'd translate it by "it's no use"
     
  7. yourfairlady05 Senior Member

    USA
    English - United States
    I've always heard it as "it's a no go" and it can mean many things depending on context, but all rooted in the idea that "it won't work". In your example you provided it does mean "no matter how hard you try it's of no avail" and it also means "it won't work".
    If you break the sentence down you can kind of see what it means:
    It's a = the situation is
    no = not, a form of negation
    go = well this just means "go", "work" in other words
    It's poor grammar that became a common phrase and it means "It's (the situation's) not going to work". Sometimes that means it's not going to work.

    For example you could say:
    -So are you still having your daughter's birthday party in the park?
    -It's a no go, it's going to rain that day.

    I just now realized it could also mean "don't go there/do that" or "it's not worth going there/doing that" or "you can't go there/do that"

    Hope this helped!
     
  8. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Moderator note:

    There were two identical threads opened and each one had its own responses. :eek: I've merged them now, which is why the posts up to this point may seem a little disjointed.

    Thanks,
    Nun-Translator
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  9. xebonyx

    xebonyx Senior Member

    TR/AR/EN
    "No-go" is a common expression, and my suspicion is that it comes from pidgin English, but that's for another discussion...
     
  10. martin_baires07 Senior Member

    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Argentinean Spanish
    With the contributions made by the users that kindly agreed to
    provide a response to my question, I have come up with the following
    explanation, which I´m very proud and happy to share with you.
    I have also used Macmillan and Longman dictionaries to make a
    more complete and detailed answer.


    It´s no go! / It´s a no go! (with or without hyphen).
    This expression is poor grammar that became a common phrase, and it can have different meanings, depending on context:

    "It's not going to work". For example:
    - Did you tell her that she could be fired if she keeps on being late?
    - Yes, I did, but it´s no go. She won´t listen to me! (no matter how hard I try, it's to no avail)

    The governor announced his plans for the new hospital but they are still a no-go.

    “It´s not going to happen / it didn´t happen”. For example:
    - Are we still going to see the concert this weekend?
    - It's a no-go. Sam couldn´t get the tickets.

    - Did you kiss her last night?
    - It was a no-go. I guess she didn't like me.

    "Don't go there/do that". For example:
    If you travel to Rio de Janeiro, you´d better stay away from the “favelas”. It´s a no-go area even for the police.
    Some neighbourhoods are a no-go area at night.

    "It's not worth going there/doing that". For example:
    - So are you still having your daughter's birthday party in the park?
    - It's a no go. It's going to rain that day.

    “You can't go there/do that". For example:
    Please, remember that the area beyond the brown trees is no go for children.
    It's a no-go on the new pizzeria. I´ve heard they use plastic instead of cheese!

    A subject not to be discussed because of either being private or offending.
    She made it clear that her private life was no-go / a no go area.


    LOVELY, isn´t it???
     
  11. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Personally, I have never heard either of these uses. I would use "off limits / forbidden / verboten" for such sentences. It would never occur to me to say "no-go" in either of these contexts. It may be that the phrase is used differently in different places or variations of English.
     
  12. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    This Brit would use it in this sense without even thinking about it.

    It is nice to see new words in English that are German words. Gezundheidt!

    GF
     
  13. martin_baires07 Senior Member

    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Argentinean Spanish

    Even though you may not have heard it before, it appears in a Macmillan dictionary!
     
  14. Æsop Senior Member

    Suburb of Washington, D.C.
    English--American (upstate NY)
    I'm sorry to come in on this thread so late, but I only found this site yesterday!

    You all must be much younger than I to have overlooked the popularization of "go/no go" by the U.S. space program in the 1950's. English has a long history of changing the parts of speech of words without changing their forms, and this mutation of a verb into a noun is just a recent example. The men who ran the U.S. space program in its early years, including its public representatives, were mostly engineers, not litterateurs or grammarians. As the countdown proceeded toward the launch (another verb --> noun) of a missile, the engineers monitored the status of the vehicle and had to make a decision about whether to go ahead with the launch or cancel it because something wasn't working properly. There was a point of no return at which the manager of the operation would have to say, "It's a go," and allow the operation to proceed, or "No go," and cancel it. I can't claim that this is the origin of the phrase, but I am sure that it is the source of its popular usage, at least in the United States. Space-vehicle launches were big events of uncertain success--I can remember many classes in my elementary school gathering in the cafeteria to watch one on TV. I am sure I remember not only "It's a go" but announcements during the countdown like "We have a go."
     
  15. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I understand. :) However, I also notice that no American English speaker has expressed familiarity with "no-go" being used as a forbidden or off-limits area. That was my only point. It is apparently used in British English, but I would be interested to find an AE speaker who used it in that way.
     
  16. Æsop Senior Member

    Suburb of Washington, D.C.
    English--American (upstate NY)
    OK. I can't cite a specific example but I wouldn't be surprised to encounter "no-go" as an adjective in American English, nor would I think it's a foreign usage. I would probably think of it as illiterate business or military jargon, or technobabble, but if I saw "no-go zone" or "no-go situation," I wouldn't think it must have been written by a non-American. I would interpret "no-go" as a general adjective for that which is not only impossible but also just a bad idea, inadvisable. A "no-go area" could be one where entrance is forbidden, but it could also be one that it would be poor judgement to enter, because it's dangerous; a minefield, quicksand, etc. A brothel would be a "no-go area" for a married man who wants to keep his marriage and thinks his entrance might get back to his wife.
     
  17. xebonyx

    xebonyx Senior Member

    TR/AR/EN
    Maybe an AE speaking baby. :D
     

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