课程 5

Learners' Questions

Welcome to Learners' Questions - the series where we answer your queries about the English language. What will this week's learner question be?

本单元课程

本单元得分 5

0 / 4

  • 0 / 4
    练习题 1

练习题 1

Learners' Questions

Zero and no

C Chan in Hong Kong says: In the sentences: There should be zero accidents on the road or there should be no accidents on the road, shouldn’t the plural form be changed to a singular? 

收看视频并完成练习

显示文字稿 收起文字稿

Dan
Hi guys! Dan for BBC Learning English with this week's Learner Question. Find out what it is after this.

OK! This week's learner question comes from C Chan from Hong Kong, who writes: In the sentences: There should be zero accidents on the road or there should be no accidents on the road, shouldn’t the plural form be changed to a singular? Zero means no and the noun that follows it surely should be in singular form. OK, C Chan, are you ready? Here we go.

So, when zero is an adjective, it means not any. With countable nouns zero is always followed by a plural noun. However, if you’re using an uncountable noun, then the singular form is used. Compare the following: Zero degrees centigrade is the same as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Or,

We are likely to see zero growth in the stock market this year. Or, we are not likely to see any growth in the stock market this year. Those two are the same.

No means not a or not any. With countable nouns, no is normally followed by plural forms. It sounds more natural and it makes better sense to say: No road accidents were reported in Chelsea throughout August, than to say: No road accident was reported in Chelsea throughout August.

Sometimes, no may be followed by a singular or plural noun, depending on whether you are thinking of one thing or many things. For example, he must lead a lonely life. He has no wife and no children.

Finally, we can use no in an emphatic way to emphasise a negative idea. In the previous example of the lonely man, no is more effective than not a or not any. For example, he must lead a lonely life: he doesn't have a wife and he doesn't have any children. It’s not as effective.

With subject nouns, when no is used emphatically, not a or not any is not possible. For example, no politician tells the truth all the time.

I hope that answers your question C Chan. Thank you very much for writing to us. If anybody else out there has a question for Learners’ Questions, you can email us on: learning.english@bbc.co.uk. Please remember to include Learners’ Questions in the subject box and your name and where you're writing from. Now we get a lot of emails, guys so we can’t possibly answer all of them. But we do read every single one. And for more information, go to our website: bbclearningenglish.com. That’s it for this week’s Learners’ Questions. I’ll see you next time. Bye!

___________________________________________________________________

Did you like that? Why not try these?

Learners' Questions  Exam Skills

    

___________________________________________________________________

Summary

Adjective zero
When zero is an adjective, it means not any. With countable nouns zero is always followed by a plural noun. However, if you’re using an uncountable noun, then the singular (uncountable) form is used.
Zero degrees centigrade is the same as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 
We are likely to see zero growth in the stock market this year.

No
No means not a or not any. With countable nouns, no is normally followed by plural forms.
No road accidents were reported in Chelsea throughout August

Sometimes, no may be followed by a singular or plural noun, depending on whether you are thinking of one thing or many things.
He must lead a lonely life. He has no wife and no children.

Emphatic no
We can use no in an emphatic way to emphasise a negative idea. In the previous example of the lonely man, no is more effective than not a or not any.
He must lead a lonely life. He has no wife and no children.
He must lead a lonely life: he doesn't have a wife and he doesn't have any children. 

With subject nouns, when no is used emphatically, not a or not any is not possible.
No politician tells the truth all the time.

To do

Try our quiz to see what you've learned about this topic.

Learners’ Questions Quiz

4 Questions

Decide if these sentences are correct or incorrect

祝贺你完成了测验!
Excellent! 太棒了! Bad luck! 加分:
x / y

End of Session 5

Well, that's it for this unit! Join us again in Unit 21 for more Exam Skills, News Review, Pronunciation in the News, The Teachers' Room and Learners' Questions!

本课词汇

  • zero
    means not any
    followed by a plural / uncountable noun

    no
    means not a / not any
    normally followed by plural nouns
    can be used emphatically