Occasionally I hear the word “no” used in a sentence where “not” seems more grammatical. I attribute this to idiom.
For example I sometimes hear someone say, “That’s no fair,” or “That’s no good,” which seems grammatically parallel to the suggestion that I’m no tall. (Similarly we hear “Is this any good,” while nobody would ask whether my brother is any tall.)
But on consideration there seem to be lots of parallel cases that sound right to me, for no reason that I can put my finger on. The following examples form a sort of spectrum until replacing “no” with “not” seems impossible.
- I’m no tall.
- That’s no fair.
- That’s no good.
- That’s no different.
- He’s no better than a common criminal.
- He’s no stronger than I am.
- Eating is no longer permitted in this library.
This last example seems to cross the adjective-adverb membrane. Would "no longer" be preferred to "not longer" for some reason that nonetheless prefers "not still permitted" and "not yet permitted" to "no still" and "no yet"?
What is the distinction among these examples that permits "no," or "not," or either of them arbitrarily?