The phrases “there are no” and “there is no” are almost the same. Still, there are some subtle differences regarding when to use them. This article explains in detail the correct way to use “there is no” and “there are no” in a sentence and clarifies the difference between the terms.
There Is No or There Are No – Which Is Correct?
The terms “there is no” and “there are no” are both correct and have the same meaning. However, “there is no” is used for singular or uncountable nouns, whereas “there are no” is used for plural countable nouns.
The term “there is no” is used for two types of singular or uncountable nouns, while “there are no” refers to plural countable nouns. Furthermore, the structure will change if you add a ”quantifier” before an uncountable noun.
As shown in these examples:
- There are no dogs in the park. – Plural countable noun
- There is no dog in the park. – Singular countable noun
- There is no way I am going to help him. – Singular countable noun
- There are no ways in which I can help him. – Plural countable noun
- There is no furniture in the bedroom. -Uncountable noun
- There are no pieces of furniture in the bedroom. – Uncountable noun with a quantifier.
- There is no milk in the fridge. Uncountable noun
- There are no bottles of milk in the supermarket. – Uncountable noun with a quantifier.
Only the “exact” number 1 will use an “is”. Other numbers, both higher and lower than one, will use an “are”:
For example – Referring to cakes, the various proportions would be represented as follows:
- 0.5 cakes – There are 0.5 cakes on the table.
- 1 – There is 1 cake on the table.
- 1.5 – There are 1.5 cakes on the table.
- 4 – There are 4 cakes on the table
- 0 – There are no cakes on the table.
However, when you refer to “fraction” or words that are not exactly “one”, you should use “is”:
- There is half a cake left.
- There is no cake left
- There is three-quarters of the cake left.
There Is No
The term “there is no” is used to say that “something is not there” or “something has finished.” When using it with the word “is”, you can only refer to exactly “one” of something or uncountable nouns such as money, milk, and furniture.
Here are some examples of how to use “there is no” in a sentence:
- There is no cheese left. We need to get some.
- There is absolutely no chance that he will pass if he doesn’t try.
- There is no place in the world I would rather be right now than at home.
- There is no need to be so rude.
- There is no other option other than to say we tried our best and admit defeat.
There Are No
The term “there are no” is used to say that “something is not there” or “it has finished”. The term “there are no” should be used for all plural countable nouns. The only occasion you would not use the word “are” is when there is only one of something or for uncountable nouns. In which case, you would use “is” instead.
In addition to using “are” for plural nouns, it should also be used for any numbers that are not “exactly” one.
As shown in the examples below:
- There are no people who would agree to help you.
- There are no attempts left on the exam. You have used all three.
- There are no more potatoes left for dinner. Can you go and get some?
- There are no circumstances under which I think it is a good idea.
- There are no hours left in the day for me to do everything I need to.
- There are no animals in this area that can cause you severe injury or poisoning.
- There are no fives in my phone number. You must have miswritten it.
Which Is Used the Most?
The Google Ngram shows that “there is no” is far more common than “there are no” and has been this way since the early 20th century.
Therefore, it would appear that discussing single countable nouns and uncountable nouns is more commonplace than discussing plural nouns.
The terms “there is no” and “there are no” have precisely the same meaning, but they are not used in the same grammatical structure. “There is no” is used for singular countable and uncountable nouns. Whereas “there are no” is used for plural countable nouns.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.