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Hi,

Should we use singular or plural after 'no' or 'any'? I'm confused as I have come across both cases and still don't understand about this, or is it okay to use either one? How to decide which one to use then?

Examples:
i. No new messages. (can it be: No new message)
ii. No system of government is perfect. (can this be: No systems of government are perfect, sounds weird to me and I don't think it's correct)

Please help. Thanks.
Troy
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Comments  
As far as I know you use plural with countable nouns
and singular with uncountable ones.

Countable:
- No new messages.
- No government systems are perfect.

Uncountable:
- I have no money.
- I don't have any money.
What about " no comment"? It is countable.
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Hi Troy!

"No new message" is correct if you are dealing with only one message; "no news messages" is correct if you are dealing with more than one message.

Both "No government system is perfect" and "No government systems are perfect" are correct, although you'll usually want to use the first one in most cases.

Just go with your ear, but rest easy knowing that, most likely, both choices will be correct.

If using "no" or "any" and talking about ownership, you'll want to make it plural. "I don't have any frogs" versus "I don't have any frog." "I have no books" versus "I have no book."

Even if you normally only have one of the item you're speaking about, you'll want to say "I don't have any watches" instead of "I don't have any watch." If you want to keep "watch" singular, change the sentence to "I don't have a watch."
Thanks DiamondKite for your explanation. Does the 'ownership' you mentioned only apply to something tangible?

Are the following examples correct?
i. I have no idea (? no ideas) which one is correct.
ii. I have no excuse (? no excuses) not to do it.
iii. I have no reason (? no reasons) to run away.
iv. I have no place (? no places) to hide.

Troy
Hey again, Troy!

Okay, the first sentence is a bit tough. You will want to keep "idea" singular because "which is" is immediately following what you own. If a singular verb follows what you want, keep it singular. However, if someone just asks "Do you have an idea?" you should say "I have no ideas" or "I don't have any ideas."

Otherwise, you'll want to stay consistent with the plural. "I have no excuses not to do it" is correct, although you'll commonly hear "excuse" as singular in colloquy; it's just not a rule that is regularly enforced. "I have no reasons to run away." "I have no places to hide."

Hope this helps!
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I think I would agree with your reasoning but "I have no place to hide" still sounds correct to me.
"i. I have no idea (? no ideas) which one is correct."

All those plural forms sound a bit odd to me.

'I have no idea' means 'I don't know anything about that'.
'I have no ideas' sounds more literal. Like you've ran out of ideas.

'iii. I have no reason (? no reasons) to run away.'

'No reason' is a general way of expression. You simply don't need plural here.

(It might be my Finnish mixing up with my reasoning here... I've never seen 'hard grammar' rules about this.)
""No new message" is correct if you are dealing with only one message; "no news messages" is correct if you are dealing with more than one message. "

Usually the context here is answering machine or e-mail client, I think. I have never heard singular 'no new message' been used.
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