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When is it correct to use no and nope? Is there any difference between them?

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  • General reference Feb 29, 2012 at 18:30
  • @FumbleFingers, considering J.R.'s answer, I don't think one would be able to learn that "nope" cannot always be used in the place of "no". Especially if English isn't the person's first language.
    – Bidella
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:07
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    @Bidella: We all have our own concept of what constitutes "General reference", and what role ELU should play in the teaching of English to non-native speakers. I'm not suggesting there's anything incorrect in J.R.'s answer, or that it's not useful to Juanillo. But the first sentence in the FAQ says ELU is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts. I just don't think this question meets that criterion. Mar 1, 2012 at 0:21
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    @FumbleFingers Yahoo! answers is not general reference. It's too unreliable. (The Yahoo! answers link didn't cite any dictionaries, so it wasn't pointing to a general reference)
    – Golden Cuy
    Jan 27, 2013 at 23:58
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    @Andrew Grimm: The question has been validly asked on learners. Even John Lawler can't find anything useful to say about it here apart from talking about the pronunciation. Native speakers don't need to look up things like this - it's not a suitable question to have here, irrespective of what you think of that Yahoo link. Jan 28, 2013 at 2:10

2 Answers 2

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Any difference? Nope - not in meaning anyway.

Actually, "nope" means "no," but only in the sense of the opposite of "yes." Therefore, you might use it to answer a yes-or-no question in the negative, but you would never say, "We found nope errors during the inspection," or "There was nope way Dave would ever surrender."

That said, "nope" is informal, and should only be used in writing in the most informal of contexts.

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    Shouldn't "We found no errors" actually be "We didn't find any errors" or "We found that there were no errors"?
    – darryn.ten
    Mar 1, 2012 at 7:24
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    "We found no errors" and "We didn't find any errors" both say essentially the same thing. I prefer the former, which is more direct.
    – J.R.
    Mar 1, 2012 at 9:18
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    Can you find something that isn't there?
    – darryn.ten
    Mar 1, 2012 at 10:15
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    In context, yes. Assuming the inspection was aimed at finding errors, "We found no errors" summarizes the result of the inspection.
    – J.R.
    Mar 1, 2012 at 10:32
  • Reminds me the Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy game, where for most of the game your inventory of items contains no tea.
    – SF.
    Jan 28, 2013 at 3:44
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J.R. is correct to note that nope occurs only as a one-word answer to Y/N questions, and not for other uses of no.

The final "pe" in nope comes from the way it is pronounced, ending with firmly closed lips to signal the end of the word, answer, utterance, and discussion.

The "p" part is produced by closing the lips, and the silent "e" comes from the English spelling system, which requires it there to keep the pronunciation of "o" as tense /o/ even though it's followed by (what sounds like) a consonant.

Similar reasons account for yup as a variant of ya ~ yeah, which needs no final "e" because the vowel is not tense.

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