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'Stick no bills' sounds awkward.

Shouldn't it be something like 'Do not stick any bills'?

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I've never heard "stick no bills." The phrase I'm used to is "post no bills." Is this a regionalism? (I'm from Northern California, USA.) – J.T. Grimes Nov 14 '10 at 0:03
Yes, it does vary from region to region. "Post" and "stick" are the only two that I have ever heard. – Kosmonaut Nov 14 '10 at 4:36
@Boofus: Stick no bills! – Lazer Nov 14 '10 at 4:36
Obligatory #2: imgur.com/HhlQs – Joshua Karstendick Nov 15 '10 at 3:43
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Both are correct English. I am sure that "stick no bills" was chosen because it is shorter and more to the point than "do not stick any bills", which is often done with signage. We also have "no smoking" instead of "do not smoke", and "no turn on red" instead of "do not turn on red", for example.

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Technically "no smoking" and "no turn on red" are fragments, but any listener understands they mean "no smoking is allowed" and "no turn on red is allowed", respectively. Although I can't speak for "stick no bills", as I've never heard this term before. – stevendesu Nov 14 '10 at 17:38
"Stick no bills" makes just as much sense as "say nothing". – Jon Purdy Nov 14 '10 at 18:43
Or, do no harm. – Jimi Oke Sep 7 '11 at 1:24
I'm more used to seeing "Post no bills". "Stick no bills" makes me smile, since in my region the verb "stick" is more often related to "thrust" than it is to "paste". ("Don't stick your nose into other people's business") I know that I personally try to be very careful as to where I stick MY bill.... – Bob Aug 2 '12 at 17:42

I am very much used to seeing "post no bills" than "stick no bills", but "stick no bills" is also correct because "stick" is a command word.

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"Stick no bills" is parallel to "Smoke no cigarettes."

(Please correct me if I am wrong.)

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Do you usually see signs with "Smoke no cigarettes" though? I'd naturally go with "No smoking". – sumelic Mar 23 '15 at 2:38

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