All about No; It's no picnic. It's no use. Have you no pity.

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Disneyesque

Senior Member
Korean 
1. It's no picnic, other than It's not a picnic.
2. It's no use, other than It's useless.
3. Have you no pity(and other abstract nouns about heart. e. g. shame/proud/heart..)

1. They are all having 'no' and I doubt that they are gramatically correct.
Shouldn't we change 1 and 2 to the latter one, and chance 3 to 'Don't you feel any pity/pitiful' or something?

2. I reckon that they are not 100% appropriate to the contemporary grammar, now that they are originated from old-fashioned English.
Then, are those expressions only exceptions to use 'It's no noun' or 'Have you no noun'?

Thanks in advance to the all the users always willing to help me. (Sorry for posing too much questions..)
 
  • dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi

    I don't know what the first sentence is supposed to mean, so I won't be of much help on that. The third one is perfectly fine if you ask me, but I would make some alterations to your second sentence:

    (2) It's of no use, other than it's useless. (that's how I'd read it - Apart from being useless, it's of no use. An emphatic way of saying that something is good-for-nothing)

    I don't know if we can do without "of" here (I suppose we can), but with "of" included it certainly is gramatically correct.
     
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    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's "pride" and not "proud". Apart from that, the sentences are all right as they stand. I wouldn't say they were old-fashioned, although the "Have you" sentences are perhaps rhetorical and for that reason you wouldn't hear them very often. "No" as opposed to "not a" is emphatic.
    "He's not a soldier. He's a sailor" - a neutral statement.
    "He's no soldier" - something like "He hasn't got what it takes to be a soldier".
    "We want to go on a picnic but Mary wants us to get a meal in the pub. Eating in the pub is not a picnic" - a literal statement.
    "Fighting in the jungle is no picnic" - it's very difficult.
    Cross-posted with dreamlike.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    1. It's no picnic,:tick: It's not a picnic. Not incorrect, but not exactly the same meaning.
    2. It's no use, other than It's useless.
    These sentences are also correct but have very different meanings.

    3. Have you no pity(and other abstract nouns about heart. e. g. shame/proud/heart..)
    Perfectly fine, except for "proud" which should be "pride."

    2. I reckon that they are not 100% appropriate to the contemporary grammar, now that they are originated from old-fashioned English.
    Then, are those expressions only exceptions to use 'It's no noun' or 'Have you no noun'?
    All contemporary English originates in "old-fashioned English." The verb "to be" for example goes back to at least the ninth century CE.
    It's possible to say "It's no ..." about any concrete noun I can think of, though there are probably some exceptions. I don't think it can be said of abstract nouns in general (e.g., *It's no liberty,* *it's no health.*) [The asterisks (*) indicate an intentionally incorrect sentence.]
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I've read those sentences as a whole, so it in the case of (1):

    It's no picnic :tick:
    but I'm at a loss to understand what it's supposed to mean followed with "other than it's not a picnic" - what is the intended meaning here?

    Or did you mean to ask whether "It's no picnic" is another way of saying "It's not a picnic"?
    If so, the expression "other than" was a bit misleading. Funnily enough, it makes perfect sense to me in your second sentence.

    (2) It's (of) no use, other than it's useless. (I would take it to mean the following - Apart from being useless, it's of no use. An emphatic way of saying that something is good-for-nothing)
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    "It's no picnic" - and by that I mean the entire sentence - is actually an idiom, Dreamlike. As the earlier posters have pointed out, no is used as an intensified version of not in all sorts of sentences. But that particular sentence is an idiom, so if you change it, you are no longer using the idiom, and that changes the meaning.
     
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    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, I mistakenly thought that "other than" is a part of the first two senteces and I read them as a whole, incuding "other than".
    I think it would even make sense in the third one, as I've written in my post #5.
     

    Disneyesque

    Senior Member
    Korean 
    "He's no soldier" - something like "He hasn't got what it takes to be a soldier".
    So it is not the matter of grammar mistakes, but of nuance, right?

    I've never known such usage, since what I learnt on the domestic grammar books was all about expressions with 'not'.
    So I assumed that I never got a chance to learn it just because is old-fashioned.

    The expression with No seems to hit more essential aspects of the noun.
    Speaking of the sentence 'He is no soldier', it doesn't mean that he is not a vocational soldier; It implies he is lack of the discipline and doesn't behave in the way soldier must do.
    Speaking of the sentence 'Fighting in the jungle is no picnic', it seems to be saying that fighting in the jungle is not a easy game to play.

    Hopefully I caught what you wanted to tell me.

    Thanks.
     

    Disneyesque

    Senior Member
    Korean 
    Dear. Dreamlike,

    Yes, you got it. I wanted to express 'other than' in the meaning of 'apart from'. Sorry for making the ambiguous sentences. I wanted to ask if 'It's no use' might be changed to 'It's useless'.

    At first, I was so confused for you told me that the sentence can make sense as a whole sentence. Because, I mistook that you wanted to say 'It's no noun' and 'It's not noun' were same. So I was thinking it didn't make sense, because it sounded similar to 'It is an apple, otherwise it is an apple' me. However, now I can understand. It's not Noun and It's no Noun aren't grammatically wrong; they just have different meanings. And that is why 'It's no picnic, other than it's not a picnic.' can make sense. It would mean that 'It is a picnic, which is very boring and unlike normal picnics'.

    However, when it comes to 'It's no use, other than it's useless.' I cannot figure out how this can make sense. Could you please tell me more about this one?

    I am getting to know about the difference. Thank you so much about all the efforts you put.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I wanted to ask if 'It's no use' might be changed to 'It's useless'.
    No. Both sentences are grammatically correct, but have different meanings.

    It's not Noun:cross: and It's no Noun aren't grammatically wrong; they just have different meanings.:cross:
    "It's not a noun" would be correct.

    However, when it comes to 'It's no use, other than it's useless.' I cannot figure out how this can make sense.
    This doesn't make sense as you've written it.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ... Because, I mistook that you wanted to say 'It's no noun' and 'It's not noun' were same. So I was thinking it didn't make sense, because it sounded similar to 'It is an apple, otherwise it is an apple' me. However, now I can understand. It's not Noun and It's no Noun aren't grammatically wrong; they just have different meanings. And that is why 'It's no picnic, other than it's not a picnic.' can make sense. It would mean that 'It is a picnic, which is very boring and unlike normal picnics'...
    The use of 'no' in this sense is not out-of-date. We use it every day.

    I have no cigarettes.
    I'm no hero when it comes to aeroplanes.

    There is no rice in the cupboard
    No way will I do that (slang)
    No talking allowed in the library.

    All of these are perfectly normal sentences. There is no problem with them.

    Does that help?
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    There was a famous line in the 1988 vice-presidential debates: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    There's nothing old-fashioned about the three sentences you originally quoted, Princess; they're all perfectly correct contemporary English.
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    However, when it comes to 'It's no use, other than it's useless.' I cannot figure out how this can make sense. Could you please tell me more about this one?
    Well, I think I've already explained it pretty well, but I can give it another try. "other than" strikes me as a preposition that can mean in the sentence "except for" or "apart from" or "besides".
    I didn't like the second performance, but other than that, the evening was very successful.

    That's why it would make sense to may to say.
    It's of no use, other than it's useless. = Except for the fact that it's useless, it's of no use. / Other than being useless, it has no other use. = a very emphatic and weird way of saying that something is completely useless, but still making perfect sense to me.
     

    Disneyesque

    Senior Member
    Korean 
    Thank you for all the kind replies, it really helped me out.
    And... yes, I misunderstood it is out-of-date simply because I've never heard about that in my own grammar materials.
    But now that I know it isn't, I'll give it a try :) Thank you again and have a perfect weekend!
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    (a) 'It is no problem.'
    (b) 'It is not a problem.'

    These sentences are equivalent in meaning, but the grammar is different.
    In (a), 'no' is a negative adjective qualifying the noun 'problem'.
    In (b), 'not' is a negative adverb modifying the verb 'is'.
     
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