1

I came across this English test question:

You aren't allowed to use your mobile so ________.

  • it's no point in leaving it on [my answer]
  • there's no point in leaving it on [correct answer as given by the marker]

The answers are very similar and I am not sure why mine was incorrect. Can someone explain why the second one is correct while the first is wrong or less correct?

  • You must use there, not it. – tchrist Apr 2 '15 at 5:05
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    "it's pointless leaving it on/to leave it on" would be fine. – Mari-Lou A Apr 2 '15 at 5:12
  • @Mari-LouA It's pointless and it's no point mean one and the same thing. Eg a) It's pointless to debate on this issue any further, b) It's no point in debating this issue any further. You see the idea conveyed by both sentences could be construed in only one way. – Andy Semyonov Apr 2 '15 at 6:22
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    @AndySemyonov You'd say: There's no point in debating . . . OR It's pointless to debate on . . . both mean the same but I can't explain "why" it has to be phrased that way. – Mari-Lou A Apr 2 '15 at 6:39
  • It's no point - here we're using 'no' as determiner to modify the meaning of "point", you see we've ended up changing the meaning of point to its opposite, which translates ultimately into pointless. Whereas in the "it's pointless to..." no determiner was used because the single word pointless was sufficient to convey the same idea. – Andy Semyonov Apr 2 '15 at 6:50
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There's no point in asking "why" when it comes to language. It is completely pointless, and there is no answer other than "just because".

There is no intrinsic reason whatsoever for us to say "there's no point" and not "it is no point", or "it's raining" and not "there's raining" — no reason other than that we have to agree on saying something, and that's what we happen to have agreed upon, and so we're good.

Yes, you can try and come up with a "rule", but that "rule" would be merely descriptive. It would be an attempt at justification in hindsight. It would merely describe what we're doing anyway. Describe but not explain. And even at describing it would typically perform rather poorly, introducing exceptions, or ignoring them. And it would completely ignore the fact that languages constantly evolve, and nothing at all stops people from agreeing on saying "there's raining" instead, gradually rendering "it's raining" ungrammatical nonsense.

So the only honest answer to your question is, you must use "there's no point" because that's what every native speaker at this point in time would use, and you must not use "it's no point" because that's what no native speaker at this point in time would produce.

Keep in mind that no native speaker acquires the language by learning rules; every native speaker acquires the language by simply repeating after other native speakers. I suggest you do likewise.

  • Interestingly, whilst we can't say "It's no point in posing the question", it's quite okay to say "It's no big deal posting an answer". – FumbleFingers Apr 2 '15 at 12:42
  • "Keep in mind that no native speaker acquires the language by learning rules; every native speaker acquires the language by simply repeating after other native speakers. I suggest you do likewise." So noone should ask questions on here or on ELL, they should just get out their door and talk to people? Although I agree that actively speaking with native speakers is a good way to learn a language, I don't think that's a constructive comment relevant to the question! – AndyT Apr 2 '15 at 12:46
  • @FumbleFingers Might be due to "no" meaning "not a(ny)" and the addition of the adjective. ("it's not a big deal" in your example). "It's no deal posting an answer" sounds just as weird as "it's no point" (the adjective changes everything) – msam Apr 2 '15 at 16:22
  • @RegDwigнt♦ If people learned simply by repeating after others, a language would never evolve. Answers as to why you should say this, and not that, are not about "rules", but about the rhyme and reason of the language. Why do you think children say things like "foots" instead "feet"? Not from repeating after native speakers! – bobro Apr 3 '15 at 18:24
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The most common preposition for "no point" is at

enter image description here

At no point

We don't normally say On no point, the preposition at usually expresses the idea of preciseness.

5 [count] : a particular time or a particular stage in the development of something — usually singular
At no point (in time) did the defendant ask for a lawyer.

Between the existential there and the dummy it, there's is used more commonly with the expression no point. The dummy it is more commonly used with pointless

enter image description here

2: a reason for doing something : PURPOSE

— often + in
- I saw no point in continuing the discussion.
- There's no point in getting upset. [=there is no reason to get upset]

The most common preposition with there is no point is in See Google Ngram

enter image description here

This is not the case for other similar constructions:

  • There is no reason (to + verb/for/in/at) . . .
  • There is no time (to + verb/for/in/at) . . .
  • There is no money (to + verb/for/in/at) . . .
    BUT
  • There is no hope (of/for/in/to + verb/at) . . .
-2

Neither reflects the essentially subjunctive nature of the reasoning embodied in the statement.

You are not allowed to use your mobile phone, so there would be no point in leaving it on.

-2

"it is no point" is not correct. What is the "it" in this sentence? The mobile? So given it wouldn't make sense if you wrote "The mobile is no point in leaving it on", you cannot use "it".

"The point" is a separate object, it's a noun. You are saying whether this separate object exists or not. So either "there is a point" or "there isn't a point" = "there is no point".

-3

As you can find at Google Books,

"There is no reason to" About 57,400,000 results

equivalent with No reason exists

is much more frequent than:

"that is no reason to" About 1,340 results

which is equivalent with That thing [in the situation/context] does not constitute a reason

E.g.,

Mind and World- Page 82 John Henry McDowell - 1996

The best we can achieve is always to some extent provisional and inconclusive, but that is no reason to succumb to the fantasy of an external validation.

where:

that = The best we can achieve is always to some extent provisional and inconclusive

"it is no reason to" About 1,340 results

equivalent with /It/the thing/ [identified in the situation/context] does not constitute a reason

E.g., in:

Philosophy Looks at the Arts: Contemporary Readings in ... ... - Page 178 Joseph Margolis - 1987

If someone creates a certain impression, it is no reason to call him creative; he may create the impression of himself that he is uncreative.

where:

it = that = someone creates a certain impression

For the last two the difficulty is in identifying that thing that might or might not constitute a reason.

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