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I want to say "This book comes without page numbers, footnotes and cover.".

But if I use "with no" instead of "without", should I repeat the word "no"?

A: This book comes with no page numbers, footnotes, and cover.


B: This book comes with no page numbers, no footnotes, and no cover.

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I think you do not have to repeat "no" but I would change your conjunction from "and" to "or": This book comes with no page numbers, footnotes, or cover. – JLG Jul 21 '12 at 15:11
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I think it depends on your choice of conjunction at the end of the list. If you use or, then you don't need to repeat the negation:

This book comes with no page numbers, footnotes, or cover.

…whereas if you use and, you do need to repeat the negation (as in your example B):

This book comes with no page numbers, no footnotes, and no cover.

Here, the repeated use of the word no adds emphasis to the missing items.

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"or" will make the sentence contain uncertain meaning whether there is a cover or not, right? – kiss my armpit Jul 21 '12 at 15:17
@HiggsBoson No, "cover" must be part of the list. If you want to make it so that the book could have a cover (like if you were presenting two possibilities for how the book comes), you could say, e.g. "This book comes with [either] no page numbers and no footnotes, or a cover." – Cameron Jul 21 '12 at 15:33
So, in and case, there is no need to repeat the negation? It is only for adding emphasis. Right? – user19148 Jul 21 '12 at 15:34
@Carlo_R. Right – Cameron Jul 21 '12 at 15:35

It is perfectly correct and clear to say this book comes with no page numbers, footnotes or cover as mentioned in other answers. Note that no comma is required before the conjunction or.

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You’re a bit misleading about the serial comma business. Careful writers and careful publications always use it. You should, too. – tchrist Jul 21 '12 at 18:41
I'm afraid that that is contrary to what I was consistently taught and I apologise if it is considered misleading. I will not be using the comma. – Tony Balmforth Jul 21 '12 at 19:41
@tchrist Some of the publications and style manuals listed here might be considered "careful." Really, there is nothing approaching universal consensus about whether or not it's best to use the serial comma. – Eliah Kagan Jul 21 '12 at 20:18

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