No or not + gerund?

 

Q:

Here's something I don't know how to explain: When do I use "no" and when do I use "not" to modify a gerund? For example, these sentences are all correct:

Not doing anything about it is worse than doing the wrong thing.

Bob thinks going to the opera isn't a bad idea, but he thinks that not going is a better idea.

There will be no smoking in this office ever again!

At the children's camp, the rules are quite strict: After 8:00 p.m., there is no talking, no reading and no watching television.

Inge D
Posted 04 December 2001

A:

No is used with gerunds just as it is used with any noun or noun substitute: to mean not any.

There will be no smoking in this office ever again!

is equivalent to

There will not be any smoking in this office ever again!

Just as:

There is no food in the pantry.


is equivalent to

There isn't any food in the pantry.

To give a gerund a negative meaning, not combines with the -ing verb form:

I considered going to the meeting.
I considered not going to the meeting.

Going seemed like a good idea.
Not going seemed like a good idea.

Also, no (not not) is often used with gerunds in notices that say a particular activity is prohibited (No Smoking, No talking). In this case, it would appear that no is still the equivalent of not any - "There will not be any smoking in this area."

Betty Azar

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