"no" problem - You won't get no control.

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New Member
China Chinese
i came across these following two sentences without having the least idea what they mean:

1. You won't get no control.
2. But if you haven't got no money after all this,...

The "no"s confused me, or maybe they are just wrong expressions?

  • Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    These are conversation substitutes for "any." Children often use no before a noun to mean any. It is very emphatic. They will say, I never have no new clothes. My brother ain't got no girl friends. The book that I read was no good.

    An adult who talks with a noun modified by no would be considered to have sloppy speech, possibly is poorly educated or is using it in a humorous vein. For example, you could post a thread, ask a question and say, "I ain't got no idea!"


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    What's wrong with "The book that I read was no good." ?
    Nothing at all, in my part of the world - though I suggest that it is a somewhat informal expression.

    The specific points raised in post #1 are double negatives.

    In a formal context, double negatives elegantly expressed can usually be understood to cancel each other.

    In normal casual conversation, double negatives here are understood to be reinforcing or emphatic. So:
    You won't get no control = you have no chance whatever of getting control.
    ... if you haven't got no money ... = if you really have no money


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It might also be noted that writers will sometimes deliberately use double negatives to suggest a lack of education by the speaker, or at least to suggest that the speaker is affecting or pretending to have no education.
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