Meaning of NOT in English



1. not

2. stronger expressions meaning not

3. not one thing and not the other


see also


↑ NO




1. not

▷ not /nɒt/ [adverb]

▪ It’s not boring -- it’s really interesting.

▪ David’s not stupid. He knows what’s going on.

▪ This period of history is not well documented.

▪ We’re not going on holiday this year.

▪ Buying a yacht isn’t as expensive as you might imagine.

▪ ‘Are you worried about your exams?’ ‘No, I’m not.’

▪ It’s not a computer -- it’s a word processor.

▷ not very /nɒt ˈveri/ [adverb]

not - use this especially when you do not want to state a negative quality directly :

▪ I wouldn’t recommend the fish - it’s not very nice.

▪ He isn’t very clever, is he?

▪ The figures were different, but at the time we thought it wasn’t very important.

▷ not particularly /nɒt pəʳˈtɪkjɑləʳli/ [adverb]

not very, or not very much :

▪ It was a good film, not particularly exciting, but enjoyable.

▪ Birmingham isn’t a particularly beautiful city.

▪ I didn’t particularly want to go out.

▷ not quite /nɒt ˈkwaɪt/ [adverb]

not completely, but almost :

▪ The paint’s not quite dry yet.

▪ We haven’t quite finished yet.

▷ not exactly /nɒt ɪgˈzæktli/ [adverb]

not very or completely :

▪ She’s not exactly fat, but she is slightly overweight.

▪ What they’re doing is not exactly dishonest, but it’s not completely honest either.

▷ neither /ˈnaɪðəʳǁˈniː-/ [adverb]

use this to say that a negative statement that has just been made about someone is also true about someone else :

neither am I/neither does she/neither have we etc

▪ ‘I’ve never been to Australia.’ ‘No, neither have I.’

▪ Tom didn’t believe a word she said, and neither did the police.

2. stronger expressions meaning not

▷ not at all /ˌnɒt ət ˈɔːl/ [adverb]

use this to emphasize that something is definitely not true :

▪ She’s not at all happy about the situation.

▪ The children didn’t seem to be at all frightened.

▪ No, no, no, that’s wrong. That’s not what I meant at all.

▷ by no means/not by any means /baɪ ˈnəʊ miːnz, nɒt baɪ ˈeni miːnz/ [adverb] formal

use this when you want to say strongly that something is not true :

▪ It is by no means certain that you’ll get your money back.

▪ It’s difficult, but by no means impossible.

▪ It’s not clear by any means where the money is going to come from to fund this project.

▷ not in the least also not a bit especially British /ˌnɒt ɪn ðə ˈliːst, ˌnɒt ə ˈbɪt/ [adverb]

use this to say strongly that something is not true, especially when you would expect it to be true :

▪ You’re not in the least sorry, are you?

▪ My essay wasn’t a bit like yours.

▪ ‘Was she annoyed?’ ‘Not a bit! She was delighted.’f

not the least (bit)

▪ Henry wasn’t the least bit worried.

▷ in no way /ɪn ˌnəʊ ˈweɪ/ [adverb]

if something is in no way affected by something else, it is definitely not affected by it in any way :

▪ This will in no way influence our original decision.

▪ The damage is very slight and in no way reduces the value of the painting.

▷ not remotely /nɒt rɪˈməʊtli/ [adverb]

use this when something is completely untrue, impossible, different etc :

▪ His arguments are not remotely convincing.

▪ It was a stupid remark, and not remotely funny.

▪ She didn’t seem remotely interested in anything I had to say.

▷ hardly /ˈhɑːʳdli/ [adverb]

use this to emphasize that something is definitely not true, and if someone thinks it is true they are being a little stupid :

▪ They only won 1-0 - hardly a great victory!

▪ It’s hardly surprising he’s upset, considering the way you’ve treated him!

▪ He’s hardly a world chess champion - you should be able to beat him.

▪ All these similarities could hardly be due to chance.

▷ not be the world’s best/greatest /nɒt biː ðə ˌwɜːʳldz ˈbest, ˈgreɪtə̇st/ [verb phrase]

use this to say that someone is not good at something :

▪ I occasionally put up a few shelves, but I’m not exactly the world’s greatest handyman.

▷ be no expert/genius/Einstein etc /biː ˌnəʊ ˈekspɜːʳt/ [verb phrase]

an informal expression meaning to not have the skills, qualities etc of the person or type of person that you have mentioned :

▪ Of course, I’m no expert but that wall really looks like it’s leaning over.

▪ Stephanie knows what she’s doing. She’s no fool.

▪ He’s quite a bright boy I suppose, but he’s no Albert Einstein.

▷ simply/just not [adjective phrase]

use this to emphasize strongly that something is not possible, likely, true etc :

▪ I can’t see any use in us talking about that idea at all - it’s simply not practical.

▪ For as long as she could remember she’d just never been interested in marriage and children.

3. not one thing and not the other

▷ neither /ˈnaɪðəʳǁˈniː-/ [determiner/pronoun]

use this to emphasize that you are talking about both of two people or things when you make a negative statement about them :

▪ Neither side in the dispute seems willing to make any compromise.

neither of

▪ Neither of their children had shown any particular talent for music.

▷ neither ... nor /ˈnaɪðəʳ... nɔːʳǁˈniː-/

use this when you want to make a negative statement about two people, things, actions etc :

▪ The company’s chairman described the criticisms as ‘neither accurate nor fair’.

▪ Neither France nor Britain will be represented at the conference.

▪ She neither accepted nor rejected his offer immediately.

▷ neither one thing nor the other /naɪðəʳ ˌwʌn θɪŋ nɔːʳ ði ˈʌðəʳǁniː-/ [adjective phrase]

use this about something that does not have enough of the qualities of either of two things, so that is not satisfactory or definite in either way :

▪ Having had one Protestant parent and one Catholic parent, I was really neither one thing nor the other.

▪ The play attempts to blend high tragedy with comedy, but just ends up being neither one thing nor the other.

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