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I was thinking about these negations. Do these mean the same thing?

There is no point in ...
There is not a point in ...

or:

I have no clue
I do not have any clue

etc.

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2  
Generally the meanings are the same. But in some cases one version is widely used while the other is not. This would be awkward: There is not a point in arguing with the boss. But this would be OK: There is not a point on any of these daggers. –  GEdgar Mar 4 '12 at 15:00

1 Answer 1

The difference is in how idiomatic or natural the expressions are, and not in the literal meanings. (I am a native American English speaker; others' intuitions may differ).

There is no point in... (idiomatic and natural)
There isn't any point in... (another natural alternative)
There is not a point in... (marked and unnatural, perhaps emphatic)

I have no clue. (idiomatic and natural)
I haven't got a clue./I don't have a clue. (also natural alternatives)
I do not have any clue. (marked and unnatural, perhaps emphatic)

So we could almost always use the first expressions of each pair that you provided under normal circumstances. But we just as well could use the alternatives I listed instead. Finally, the last listed expressions don't sound right; they might only be used when we want to emphasize.

The meanings are the same, so it's a matter of what will sound natural.

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But any requires a plural: So it should be: I do not have any clues or I do not have a clue. –  Jim Mar 4 '12 at 17:31
    
@Jim not necessarily; clue has both a count-noun sense ('item of evidence') and a non-count-noun sense ('cognizance') –  Mark Beadles Mar 4 '12 at 17:34
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I’m not disagreeing with your answer, but I should add that for me, as a native speaker of British English, “I haven’t got a clue.” is more idiomatic / natural than “I have no clue.” –  Pitarou Mar 5 '12 at 12:07
1  
"I don't have a clue" is another natural formation, but I'd use "I have no clue" just as readily. –  Hellion Mar 5 '12 at 14:33
1  
@Jim: 'I don't have any idea.' –  Barrie England Mar 5 '12 at 16:14

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