I sometimes see sentences like I no go to Rio (note that no is before go)—as the title of this blog post.
Is it considered slang or is there an actual rule?

p.s. While related, this is not a duplicate of my previous question.


This may or may not be correct from a grammar perspective, but my initial reaction as a native speaker is that it's not "correct". However, it does have a nice bit of alliteration, which is probably why it was chosen.

[Edit] After having browsed the blog post, it also seems that the construction of the sentence is designed to mimic a non-native speech pattern.

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  • Yes, it's a calque of how you would say the same thing in Spanish or Portuguese ("No voy a Río" or "Eu não vou para o Rio"); those languages use "no" or "não" (pronounced roughly "gnaw") for both "no" and "not", so someone who native spoke them and is first learning English might easily use "no" for "not", or even hypercorrect and use "not" for "no". – Malvolio Jun 10 '11 at 22:06

Not sure if it's slang, but, since that particular post is about caipirinhas, a Brazilian mixed drink, and Brazilians (natively) speak Portuguese, I think that the sentence is basically an attempt to lay English words on a Portuguese sentence structure, in effect mocking Portuguese (notice the use of Brazeel instead of Brazil). It's reminiscent of sentences like Me so Asian (though perhaps not as insulting?), which similarly lays English words on what are (crudely) thought to be rules of "Asian" syntax. If you're looking for a rule, it would be to take a Portuguese sentence, and replace the words with simple English words, and pronounce with a mock Portuguese accent. Not something I would do, personally, but that's just me.

(By the way, the sentence is probably a play on the title of the song by Pablo Cruise, I go to Rio.)

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  • I agree with @jyc23 in the footnote and considered the possibility of the blog title "I no go to Rio" is being ironically quoted. – Jamie Jun 11 '11 at 11:41

If any native English speaker saw that, there are two things they would identify at once:

  1. It wasn't according to the grammar they were brought up with
  2. It sounded like the grammar of a foreign language.

"I no go to Rio" is completely wrong -- even if people put it on as a blog post title.

There is a rule stating this , the Negation Rule:

The Negation Rule: In English, in order to claim that something is not true, you form a negative sentence by adding the word not after the first auxiliary verb in the positive sentence.

Note that the Rule states that in order to form the negative, not should be added, and does not mention no.

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The idiom "no go" is commonly used to describe a failed project (e.g. "Our trip to Washington was a no go.").

In this case, the verb "to be" has dropped out, so "I am not going" has become "I no go". "Go to Rio" is fine. "I go to Rio" is also fine, though odd. But I can't come up with a way to negate "I go to Rio" without adding another verb.

This usage seems uncommon and ungrammatical, yet even more ridiculous idioms ("no can do") are common.

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    "No-go", as in your first example, is a noun. The use as described here is with go as a verb. I am also unsure of what you mean about "to be" dropping out. "Not" and "going" are different from "no" and "go", so really every word is different except "I". – Kosmonaut Jun 10 '11 at 21:36
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    A technically correct, although archaic, way to negate the phrase is I go not to Rio. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 11 '11 at 22:21

No-used with gerund verbs>No running in the house / No-used folowing affirmative verb be>there is no pencil in the desk.

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