No + noun + V = singular or plural?

Should we use verbs in plural or in singular after “no + noun” (for eg: no students)? Some of my teachers say that they should be in singular because “no+noun” bears the meaning of nobody or nothing. Other teachers say that it depends on the noun that follows “no”:if that is a singular noun, we use singular verb and vice versa. Other teachers say that the former intrustion refers to American English grammar and the latter refers to British English grammar (standard grammar). So who is right?

Thanks for your time

Hi Nessie,

‘No’ in these sentences takes on the role of an adjective, technically a determiner suggesting either ‘not one’ or ‘not any’ as in: At no time have I ever said that or I’m sorry but we have no bananas in the shop. I don’t know about the Am E or Br E point.


You ought to ask those teachers for some concrete examples of what they mean.

May be I haven’t made myself clear enough. Let me give some example:
No (student) in our school (like) such activities

=> one of my teachers said that when we use “no” here, it means there is not any student who like “such activities”, and because there is NO student, we should use the noun “student” and the verb “like” in singular. Detailedly, the right sentence is:
No student in our school likes such activities

=> one other teacher said:
The noun can be either in singular or plural. If it is in singular, the following verb should be in singular,and is it is in plural,the verb should be in plural, too

=> meanwhile, another teacher of mine said that the first teacher’s explaination is according to American English and the second teacher’s explaination is according to British English

So, who is right? :open_mouth:


If you say ‘no’ + noun and you mean ‘not one’ then you have a singular verb. If you say ‘no’ + noun and you mean not any (plural), you use a plural verb.

No student likes to work

No students like to work.

Isn’t that what you want?


Thank you very much, Alan
So it is right that according to standard British English, the verb depends on the noun antecedent?

However, I still don’t understand the diffence in meaning of these two usages:
No student likes to work

No students like to work.


I think this thread is really going nowhere. Single subject single verb/plural subject plural verb. This is just plain simple English, wherever.


Thanks for your idea, Alan. May be to native people like you, these things are so simple to understand, but to non-native like us, it’s not easy at all. We are not born in any English speaking country, and so much as I love English, sometimes I can’t understand some certain words or usages, and that’s why I need your help, and that’s why I appreciate you and this wonderful website so much.
I know the simple rule of “Single subject single verb/plural subject plural verb.”, but I just can’t understand the implication of the speaker when they use singular or plural noun.That’s why I have to keep asking you.May be that difference is not very considerable or important to some people. However, it is to me because I love English and I wish to understand every single detail in English just as a native English speaker can.
Actually, I know that you are very busy with all these questions of students around the world. I just hope I haven’t disturb you much…
Thanks for your time.