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To do or not to do (a question for English speakers)
Thread poster: Aurora Humarán
Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 18:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 6, 2006

Ave, proZians!

I would like to know if native speakers of English see any differences between the two sentences below.

I have no money.
I don't have any money.


Thank you very much!

Aurora


*This is for my paper on Linguistics (Master's course at Universidad de Buenos Aires)


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:32
German to English
+ ...
Only subtle differences (if at all) Jun 6, 2006

To me the two phrases contain subtle differences in meaning, though these differences would probably only be detectable in context, i.e. it really depends on the situation and manner that they are used.

The phrase "I have no money." could come across to me as if the speaker is completely broke, i.e. has no money AT ALL.

Whereas I would probably understand the phrase "I don't have any money." to mean that the speaker has no money on them, i.e. has no money AT THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT, but the funds are otherwise available somewhere, i.e. in the bank.

Like I said, I think that it really depends on the situation in which it is used and the speaker's inflection. I'm interested to hear what the others think.


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:32
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My impression Jun 6, 2006

Hi Aurora,

For me, "I have no money" seems to be a much more definite phrase, meaning that the speaker really has no money AT ALL - not at home, in their pockets or in the bank.

"I don't have any money", although it means the same, sounds to me much less definite - i.e. the speaker is saying it, but not really meaning it so he/she probably does have money. Or it could be used to mean that the speaker has no money in their possession at that precise moment, but he/she does have money at home or in the bank.

My two pence!

P.S: Please note that my reply was written before I read Derek's so I didn't steal his ideas Obviously my take on the two phrases is not totally bizarre!

[Edited at 2006-06-06 12:21]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:32
French to English
No fundamental difference Jun 6, 2006

Although I could point out that the natural way for me to express this notion (I'm from London, if that helps) would be to say "I haven't got any money", and this would apply in general terms (i.e I am permanently skint) or in a specific situation (e.g. when it's my round ).

It's possible that there may be an inclination in some people to use negate the verb rather than the noun in such circumstances. It's also possible that the stimulus that provokes the "I am financially embarrassed" response has an impact on the structure used.

I can see Derek and Rebecca's point, and don't disagree, other than to say that I find "I have no money" a stilted and unnatural turn of phrase, unless followed by something else, e.g. I have no money for a new car. Even then, as I said above, I personally would say "I haven't got any money for a new car" anyway.

[Edited at 2006-06-06 12:36]


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:32
Partial member (2004)
Italian to English
My take Jun 6, 2006

I have no money = I'm totally broke. Nothing in my bank, wallet, pockets...
I don't have any money = I need to go to the ATM

Of course the difference is very subtle and it depends on the intonation and context. Another example could be:
I have no time = my time is up, I never have a minute of time
I don't have time = I don't have time for that right now

Jennifer


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:32
French to English
+ ...
American Thoughts Jun 6, 2006

"I don't have any money" is I think the more natural and more generally useable utterance. I disagree with the assertion that "I have no money" refers to a more pervasive condition of penury; any difference in meaning between the two is entirely driven by context. I can imagine someone arriving at a bar, opening his wallet to pull out the cover charge, discovering it to be empty, and saying "I have no money!" without people concluding that he had an empty bank account.

I think it would be more common for an American to say "I've got no money," or in less standard form "I ain't got no money."


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 18:32
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My idea Jun 6, 2006

I believe that I HAVE NO MONEY is more emphatic, definitive.

I DON`T HAVE ANY MONEY (left), I spent all the money I had today.

I HAVE NO MONEY, I am homeless, I can`t even afford paying the rent.

I agree w/ the colleagues that have stated similar opinions in this forum.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:32
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Other thoughts Jun 6, 2006

I don't disagree with the previous comments but would suggest that the "don't" option is more likely to be used in speech and the other one in written English.
There are also regional variations in the UK. Scots and Northerners tend not to use the don't / ain't version; they might say I've no money or I've not brought any money. Personally I find this more elegant. (Get / got are not much favoured either in the North).


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 17:32
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
For what it's worth Jun 6, 2006

I agree with many in that "I have no money" is more emphatic. However, I might use it to mean that I have absolutely nothing on me (i.e., I left my purse somewhere), OR to mean, as others have said, "bank account is cleaned out, credit cards maxed out, no financial resources whatsoever."

On the other hand, "I don't have any money" might mean that I've got a couple of bucks and a handful of change with me, but it's not enough to even contemplate the project under discussion (movie, restaurant, etc.), OR that it's the end of the month, things are pretty tight, I'm not starving to death but I'm not making any large purchases right now, OR that I can't afford the purchase in question. Examples, respectively: 1) I'd love to go to the movies but I don't have any money. (Can you loan me some until I can get to the ATM?) 2) I'm not eating out these days; I don't have any money. (Maybe we can do lunch next week, when I get paid for this job I'm doing.) 3) I dream of installing a swimming pool, or maybe buying a big-screen HDTV, but it's just a dream; I don't have any money. (Someday, when I'm a big-name literary translator, I can buy that stuff.)

I disagree with Richard, in the sense that my personal background and usage are obviously different from his: I'm American (sorry, "United Statesian"???), born and raised in northern Illinois, and I would *never* say "I've got no money." It doesn't sound natural to me.

Another related phrase, which (in my mind) is replacing the first sense I listed for "I don't have any money," is "I don't have any cash."


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:32
French to English
Interesting distinction Jun 6, 2006

JaneTranslates wrote:

Examples, respectively: 1) I'd love to go to the movies but I don't have any money. (Can you loan me some until I can get to the ATM?) 2) I'm not eating out these days; I don't have any money. (Maybe we can do lunch next week, when I get paid for this job I'm doing.) 3) I dream of installing a swimming pool, or maybe buying a big-screen HDTV, but it's just a dream; I don't have any money. (Someday, when I'm a big-name literary translator, I can buy that stuff.)


Could be a US/UK difference, but my natural response for your 3 examples would be "I don't have (or I haven't got) THE money" i.e. the money required for the hypothetical purchase. I still say that "I don't have/haven't got any money" is a general statement of general penury (and that in general terms, it is no different from "I have no money"), which still means, of course, that the movies/eating out/a HDTV are unaffordable...

I do agree, however, that "I have no...." is more emphatic. I just don't think it can be interpreted as marking a difference between a general and a specific situation. As I ambled around the supermarket after making the posting above, I was musing on the difference between the following 2 possible opening responses to Au's post:
1. I have no idea why you are asking this question...
2. I haven't any idea why you are asking this question...

or indeed, 3. I don't have any idea.... (as per Au's original posting)

[Edited at 2006-06-06 14:39]


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
Qatar
Local time: 00:32
Member (2006)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Easy ... Jun 6, 2006

Aurora Humarán wrote:

Ave, proZians!

I would like to know if native speakers of English see any differences between the two sentences below.

I have no money.
I don't have any money.


Thank you very much!

Aurora


*This is for my paper on Linguistics (Master's course at Universidad de Buenos Aires)


And you probably already know the answer ... but just to confirm your thesis, the second sentence is stronger in its negation. The element to consider is " any."

By the way, how are you? I remember when I was learning Spanish in high school that the teacher told us that while we couldn´t use double negatives in English, in Spanish we could. So I guess the "any" here is a way of giving us the meaning of a double negative without breaking the rule.


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 18:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hey! Jun 6, 2006

John Colangelo wrote:

And you probably already know the answer ...



Is there one?

I am only (!) seeing how the negative operates in English, but the perception I have as somebody who studied English as a second language, is probably different from the one native speakers have.


By the way, how are you?


I am as ok as Chomsky and Radford allow me


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John Colangelo  Identity Verified
Qatar
Local time: 00:32
Member (2006)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Chomsky ... Jun 6, 2006

Aurora Humarán wrote:

John Colangelo wrote:

And you probably already know the answer ...



Is there one?

I am only (!) seeing how the negative operates in English, but the perception I have as somebody who studied English as a second language, is probably different from the one native speakers have.


By the way, how are you?


I am as ok as Chomsky and Radford allow me



I don´t know the second guy but Chomsky is pretty cool eventhough his passion is more politics than linguistics. You are right! This type of study is getting into the nitty gritty of the language. Eventhough native speakers dominate this aspect more, foreign researchers of the language write better research.

Remember Aurora, it´s all a question of semantics and not dynamics !


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
emphatic Jun 6, 2006

Rebecca Hendry wrote:

Hi Aurora,

For me, "I have no money" seems to be a much more definite phrase, meaning that the speaker really has no money AT ALL - not at home, in their pockets or in the bank.

"I don't have any money", although it means the same, sounds to me much less definite - i.e. the speaker is saying it, but not really meaning it so he/she probably does have money. Or it could be used to mean that the speaker has no money in their possession at that precise moment, but he/she does have money at home or in the bank.

My two pence!

P.S: Please note that my reply was written before I read Derek's so I didn't steal his ideas Obviously my take on the two phrases is not totally bizarre!

[Edited at 2006-06-06 12:21]


I agree with Rebecca, except I would say that I HAVE NO MONEY is emphatic, very conclusive, it emphasises the negation

The other sentence is a simpler statement of fact.



See what BBC World English says on teh subject
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv303.shtml

Not any and no

Note that any by itself does not have a negative meaning. It is only when it is combined with not to make not any that it becomes negative. No has the same meaning as not any, but is more emphatic. Compare the following:

He has no money and no hope for the future.
He doesn't have any money or any hope for the future.

Note also that at the beginning of a sentence, we are obliged to use no. We cannot use not any to start a sentence:

I don't have any luggage ~ No luggage at all?
No tourists visited the island that summer.
No computer is safe from this virus.

[Edited at 2006-06-06 17:41]


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:32
German to English
+ ...
I don't not got no money, I am translator Jun 6, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I can see Derek and Rebecca's point, and don't disagree, other than to say that I find "I have no money" a stilted and unnatural turn of phrase, unless followed by something else, e.g. I have no money for a new car. Even then, as I said above, I personally would say "I haven't got any money for a new car" anyway.


I fully concur with Charlie and would respectfully suggest that this should have been posted as an EN Kudoz question rather than in a forum. In that way, it might have provided a clearer and crisper response, rather than prompting what strikes me as being a slightly protracted discussion which could well lead to confusing you.

I sincerely hope that this helps.

Good luck
Chris


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