15 Spoken English Expressions with the Word NO

#1 – “No big deal” / “No biggie”

These expressions are used in response to a problem, to say that the problem is not a big one.

Imagine you are going to take a trip to Paris, and you ask your secretary to change the flights so that you can return one day earlier – but she is not successful.

Secretary: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t able to change the flight.”

You: “No big deal. I don’t mind spending an extra day in Paris.”

#2 – “No contest.”

Say this expression when talking about a competition or a comparison, in which one person or option was OBVIOUSLY better than the other; there is no possibility of the other person/option winning.

“Which restaurant is better – Subway or McDonald’s?”

“Subway, no contest! McDonald’s food is disgusting.”

#3 – “No dice.”

This is a very informal expression that means “it’s not possible” or “it wasn’t possible.”

“I tried to fix my car myself, but no dice. I’ll have to take it to the mechanic.”

#4 – “No hard feelings.”

This phrase means you are not angry. You can use this expression after someone apologizes for doing something that could have made you angry, or when talking about a situation that could make you angry (but you are not).

“I’m really sorry about missing your birthday party – I know I said I’d be there, but then I had to work overtime, and my son got sick, and I got so busy I completely forgot to call you.”

“That’s OK – no hard feelings.”

#5 – “No harm done.”

This phrase means there was no damage or negative effects from a situation that could have caused damage.

“Oh no! I accidentally pressed the wrong key and cancelled the installation of the software! What do I do now???”

No harm done – just click on the program to re-start the installation.”

#6 – “…no ifs, ands, or buts.”

This expression means that there will be absolutely NO discussion, debate, negotiation, or doubt about something. Parents often use this phrase with children:

“You can’t watch TV until you finish your homework – no ifs, ands, or buts!“

#7 – “No kidding!”

There are two uses for this phrase:

You can say it when you’re a little bit surprised. (The surprise can be a good one or a bad one):

“I spent a year volunteering in Nicaragua.”

No kidding! What kind of work were you doing there?” (You could also say “Wow!”)

You can also say “No kidding” to emphasize that something is very obviously true and you agree with it.

“Everything in that store is overpriced.”

No kidding. $200 for a pair of jeans is ridiculous.” (= Yes, it’s true / I agree that everything in the store is overpriced)

#8 – “This is no laughing matter.”

Use this expression when people are joking, laughing, or not being serious – and you want them to be more serious about the topic.

For example, imagine that somebody in your office often forgets to flush the toilet, and your boss holds a meeting about the problem, but all your co-workers are laughing and making jokes about it. Your boss might say:

“This is no laughing matter, folks. Not only is it unhygienic, but it makes a bad impression when we have visitors to our office – which could end up hurting our business relationships.”

#9 – “No offense.”

People often use this expression before or after saying something that may be offensive to someone else who is in the area and who will hear the comment. It means that you don’t want your comment to be offensive to that person.

For example, imagine a man who is making this comment to a group of men, with one woman in the group:

John: “Most women are way too emotional – no offense, Laura.”

Laura: “None taken.” (this means “Don’t worry, I wasn’t offended by your comment.”)

#10 – “No pain, no gain.”

This expression means “If you want to improve, you need to work so hard that it hurts.” It is often used in the context of sports and physical exercise:

“I ran 10 miles yesterday, and now my legs are really sore. But hey… no pain, no gain, right?”

#11 – “No sweat.”

This expression means “no difficulty” or “no problem.” Imagine your co-worker gives you a project:

“Can you get this done by tomorrow?”

“Sure – no sweat!” (= it will be easy to finish by tomorrow)

#12 – “No way!”

There are three uses for this phrase.

It can mean “no possibility,” for example:

“There’s no way we can get home by 8. It’s already 7:30, and the traffic’s terrible – the drive will take at least an hour.”

It can also be a way to say a very strong “NO!” – for example:

“Would you lend your car to Dan?”

No way! He’s a terrible driver; he’s had two accidents in the past month.”

Finally, it can be used as an exclamation of strong surprise, when someone tells you something that’s so surprising it’s difficult to believe.

“Did you hear that Sarah dropped out of college?”

No way! She was always such a dedicated student. I wonder what happened.”

#13 – “No wonder…”

This expression means it is not surprising. You can use it when you can see the logical connection between a cause and effect.

No wonder the baby is crying – his diaper needs to be changed.”

#14 – “I’m in no mood to…”

Say this when you do not have the patience or energy to do something.

“After a tough day at work, I was in no mood to socialize – so I spent the evening relaxing at home.”

#15 – “No strings attached.”

If a gift, donation, offer, or agreement has “no strings attached,” it means it has no special conditions or hidden requirements.

Example of an offer “with strings attached” – You can buy this cell phone for $99 instead of $399 – but you need to sign a two-year contract with monthly payments.

Example of an offer with “no strings attached” – This cell phone is normally $399, but today it’s on sale for $99. (And there is no requirement to sign a contract)