Grammar for Beginners – No or Not?


How was your weekend? We have all had a very good weekend here in ABA! It was nice, because last week I had a no good weekend; or should I say:  “I did not have a good weekend”?

Both sentences are perfectly correct and this can be a bit confusing for English learners.

In English there are two ways of making negative sentences:

1. You can make the verb negative using the word “not”.

Example: “There is not a mountain high enough to keep me from getting to you”.

In this sentence the word “not” is modifying the verb “to be” (is).

Usually English learners think this is the only way to form negatives in English. However, there is a second way:

2. You can form a negative sentence by making a noun or an adjective negative by using the word “no”.

Example: “There is no mountain high enough to keep me from getting to you”.

In this sentence the word “no” is modifying the noun “mountain”.

Watch out! The verb “to be” in the second sentence is in the affirmative form. In English there cannot be double negatives. You can use “I have no time” or “I do not have time”, but the sentence “I do not have no time” is incorrect.

By the way, does the sentence “There is no mountain high enough” ring a bell?

Listen to this song and practice a bit of English!

Take care and talk to you soon,

Written by: Ella, Teacher from ABA English

The name of the song is “Ain’t no mountain high enough”. “Ain’t” is a colloquialism and not grammatically correct but sometimes used in spoken English.

No comments

  1. Hello teacher,

    Well my week was good. Thanks for this sound, that´s great. Just in this lyric have some real situations like life.

    best regards,

    Osvaldo Scanavaca

  2. absolutely trou! … “When you are down, and trouble and you need an helping hand, and nothing, nothing is going right….. close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there ….you’ve got a friend…

    have a nice we with your friends


  3. Hello Ella:

    Good contribution. You should share a video you did for other student (i don’t remember the name…) that i saw in youtube abourt this theme, when to use the word no or not, is very good the explanation of how to use.
    Take care and thanks again.

    Bye byeee…..

  4. Hahaha, very good Dario! Exactly: it is incorrect to use double negatives.

  5. Nice song, nice theme. But at the end I get a bit sad… when I realize that a friend like this is difficult to exist

  6. Hello Aba!

    Thanks for this video. I like it!

    I agree with Osvaldo Scanavaca with the expresion: “Just in this lyric have some real situations like life”.

    Have a great day!


  7. but what does ain’t mean?

    • Hi Alberto!

      “Ain’t” is slang, an informal way of saying “is not” or “am not”. It is gramatically incorrect but used commonly in the street. For example “I am not a student” would be “I ain’t a student” or “That is not real coffee” would be “That ain’t real coffee”.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

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