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What is the difference between using "without" and "with no"?
In the US, I see people asking in McDonald's like "Burger with no meat..."
The other day I asked like "Burger without meat..." and McDonald's man got confused...
Later I had to explain him to remove the meat in the burger.

Please explain me on this...

Aravind
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Hello

I got interested in your question and tried to find their difference by reading dictionaries. But as far as I got, there seems no difference between them.

OED gives to 'without X' an definition 'with the absence of X' and Webster 'with no X'.

If you google, you will get results as follows:
burger(s) with no meat ...... 98 hits
burger(s) without meat .... 733 hits
The use frequencies are a bit different.
One says, however, on their website :'Life without the Lord is like a burger with no meat' and the other people says : 'A religion without god is like a burger without meat'.

paco
Hi Paco,
You mean to say that "burger(s) without meat" is more frequently used as you got around 733 hits. But why if I ask like "burger without meat" they (at McDonald's) get confused? I tried this in nearly 8 McDonald's restaurants across Massachusetts and New Hampshire states.
At every restaurant, they just stared at me and later I had to explain them. I didn't want to confuse them. But I was just curious as to how people understand and answer for "without". My study shows none understands. Maybe they are accustomed to using "with no". Am I right?
Please answer me in this regard...
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At every restaurant, they just stared at me and later I had to explain them. I didn't want to confuse them. But I was just curious as to how people understand and answer for "without". My study shows none understands. Maybe they are accustomed to using "with no". Am I right?
Please answer me in this regard...


Haha... that's quite funny, no your sentence is not wrong. It's just that they misinterpret you. People in MacDonald's assume that all burgers have meat. So asking for one withoun meat seems weird to them. It's just like asking for a hot dog without a sausage. I think what you want is a "vegetarian burger", or if you had wanted to take the meat out, you could have said "a burger without the meat patty".

Having said that, 'without' is the far more common word to use. Stick to it, you won't be wrongEmotion: smile
In BrE, (beef)burger often applies to the meat patty alone. 'Burger' is used for 'bun + patty', but can also be understood as 'meat patty'.

So I'm not sure 'burger with no meat' or 'burger without meat' would be understood over here either: the mere mention of 'meat' makes me default to 'burger = patty'.

To make the leap from 'burger without/with no meat' to 'veggie patty' probably requires more thought than a fast-food outlet can afford.

MrP
I am laughing out loud. What is a 'burger with no meat?' Maybe it refers to a vegetarian burger of some type? Maybe it means, "Please give me a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, etc. (but no meat)? I've heard of ordering a 'burger with no bread' but never a 'burger with no meat.' Perhaps I am showing my lack of sophistication here?
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I guess if I order a "burger with no meat" I am not ordering a "burger" after all. I am ordering a sandwich with no meat. On the other hand, if I went into McDonalds and asked for a "sandwich with no meat" they might not know what I was talking about.
Well, javaxjava

I guess what’s really happening every time you ask for a “burger without meat” is this:

The guys there do NOT misunderstand what you order, but they go ahead and serve a burger with meat just in case there is a misunderstanding. After all, the last thing they want is someone to approach and reproach them for serving a burger “without meat.”

My advice is: explain while you order, like saying, “a burger please. But I don’t like it with meat. So could you please give me one with no meat at all.”

Besides, there IS a difference between “without” and “with no”. The latter is more emphatic, owing to the presence of “no”.
Hahaha…Couldn’t help it but to drop in my 2 cents…

I think this topic has amused a few bystanders. For those who live in the US, in would seem strange if you were behind the McDonald ordering counter that someone would order “a burger without meat”. It’s like going to I-HOPS on a Sunday morning, telling your waitress that you want your eggs scrambled without the yolk. It won’t trigger a confused look if it’s pickle or onion, but “without mean” certain causes a few frowns. I guess people would probably say one of the followings:



“ May I have a Big Bac without / the tomato?”

“I’d like a Quarter Pounder without the Mayo”

“ I’d like a Fillet-o-fish with no Tar Tar sauce”
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