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No, in 100 words

Updated on May 7, 2020

No, in so many ways.

Convinced No: The problem with many Nos floating around in the atmosphere is that they lack certainty. They are said with a small mouth, a tiny pout, a frail voice, and thus they lack luster and credibility. If you mean No, say it proudly, out loud, stomp your foot on the floor for emphasis, if you must. In short, don't leave any room for doubts or interpretation. If you mean No, act as if you believe it. No is a powerful word, don't be weak when saying it, be as strong as the word itself. No is as No does.


Authoritarian No: Make it snappy, a quick whoosh of air that takes a millisecond to travel from your brain to your tongue to the outer world. It doesn't need to be loud, just quick and certain. The most authoritarian Nos are prompt. A slower Noooo allows for doubt to creep in the mind of the listener, and doubts lead to discussions and negotiations, and you don't want to negotiate a No with authority, you want it to stick and take hold. You don't want it to need excuses or explanations. You want it to be last word in a conversation.


When you actually mean Maybe: Say it demurely, bat your eyelashes a la southern belle while rolling the word in your mouth as if you were tasting wine, prolong the ooooos, make them last. That's the best No that really means Maybe. By saying No this way, you leave so much time for your listener to wonder whether you really mean it, that you simply and masterfully translated a simple one syllable short No into a two syllable, very distinct Maybe. Bat your eyelashes for good measure after Nooooooo has parted company with your lips, and there you have it.

 

The simple and elegant No: You don't need to convince anybody, you don't need to demonstrate authority, in fact you don't care at all if others believe you or not, you just want to state that you don't believe or wish or care for something in particular. Be elegant about it, say No with aplomb, letting it go smoothly, in a normal tone of voice, letting it last only what it naturally takes a two-letter word to be spoken. This is a No that you speak for yourself, not for an audience, not for approval, this No is yours alone

 

The desperate No: This is a personal, inimitable No, and there are probably as many ways to utter it as people suffering in the universe. If I were to describe it, I'd say it sounds like the owner is short of breath, like they were punched in the stomach and the No is a buff of air that surges as consequence of the pain, a reflex more than a voluntary action. This No isn't just a negation, it's disbelief and anger and hopelessness all rolled up into a quickly spit syllable that rings as painful and inevitable as death itself.

 

The doubtful No: As many words as one can use to express doubt or incredulity, I'd say No is number one, a true favorite, to quite succinctly and concisely paint a big, invisible question mark into the air. This No has a strong sounding, prolonged N and very pointy and noisy O. In one extreme, it blasts while its owner looks on with wide open eyes of innocent ingenuity and a pouty mouth full of surprise. In the other, it accompanies slit eyes and a savvy smirk that convey as much if not more incredulity than the No itself does.

 

Feeling daring? Inspired? Challenged or challenging? Give me a new variety of No and I'll expand the collection. I'll keep it snappy, 100 words are the limit for any type of No.

The Nos that follow are upon request.

Dohn

The lying No is the opposite of a No with conviction. It lacks certainty, is said with a small mouth and a tiny voice, and it's accompanied by a loud non verbal message –slumped shoulders and downcast eyes looking everywhere but at the recipient. It screams "Lie!" as surely as Pinocchio's nose growing. A lying No achieves no purpose except pegging the owner as a dupe and a liar. It's such a fluke that one wonders why adults still utter this kind of No past childhood, as if it were a shield against the truths that it tries to protect.

VioletSun

Non emotional, detached "nope": Raise one eyebrow ever so slightly and half close one eye while you look at your counterpart as if you were seriously considering saying anything but No. Then, without raising your voice nor inflecting it in the least, blow a short and quick nope where the no is actually unheard and the only sound that makes it to the world is a tight, condensed P, like a minuscule firework's explosion. Bat your eyelashes very slowly, and disdainfully turn your head sideways, as if you had already utterly forgotten what was it that you were talking about.

Iphigenia

The cynical Nah: This No needs to be coupled with a facial expression of distrust going on disdain, even contempt. Slightly curl your lip up, in a half smile-look-alike that will never reach your eyes. Those need to be half shuttered, as if you were focusing hard on something –think of a particularly nasty crawler coming off the kitchen sink, for example. Hold the expression for a few unnaturally long seconds, and then kick a Nah off the corner of your curled lip, like you can't bother with a full mouth sound. Turn your back and be done with it.

Christopher Reilly, not quite what he said, but inspired by it.

Unsaid No: Can No be said without actually saying the word? Sure, you're thinking, just shake your head, quicker or slower, to make it NOOOOO! or Naaaaah. But I'm not talking about that obvious non-verbal No, I mean the subtle variety, one that conveys emotions you can't or don't want to verbalize. This No is about silence, about negating with your eyes, unfriendly, doubtful, sad, sorry... It's a slightly titled head, pursed lips, a foot tapping on the floor maybe, a shoulder that moves up as if in question. When you feel No strongly enough, it just pours off you.

© 2009 Elena.

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    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      I agree, J Rosewater. I just takes a lot more guts, but it's a lot better!

    • J  Rosewater profile image

      J Rosewater 

      11 years ago from Australia

      I think a clear No is much better than a Yes but.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Oi, I just had to complain that I was stuck with Chris' inspired No to have it done in a New York minute!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Okay, I managed Iphigenia's cynical Nah, my own take which I hope the lady likes, but I'm stuck with Chris' comment inspired No... Grrrr.

      I did put the Nos upon request on the main hub area on top of the comments, so Frieda and Sally, I hope you're happy :-)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hi, Chis! That's a good one, the suave and agreeable No :) It also makes me wonder if I could say No without actually saying the word... well, of course it's possible, but can I explain it in 100 words?

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      11 years ago from St. Louis

      Such an interesting analysis of the word "no." The Director of Cinematography on the film I was shooting, when presented by someone's suggestion that really wouldn't work, he would answer quickly, "Yes,no." It meant yes, it's a good idea and thank you for presenting it, but no, it really won't work under the circumstances. This yes/no worked for us, and we knew instantly that there was no point in discussing the matter further.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hello and gracias, Sally! Ganging up on me eh? All right, I'll move them up, soon as I have the time to put together Iphi's Nah. By the looks of it, that'll be next weekend.

      It's so cool that you practiced the variations, and with a mirror! :-)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 

      11 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      What a very cool revisit of one of your earliest Hubs. I kid you not, I'm sitting here trying all the variations (looking in a mirror, mind you), and I find your descriptions of how to say the nos most instructional...and entertaining!

      Just to put my two cents in with Frieda: Move them up!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Frieda, I was going to say that your wish is my command, but really, people will talk if we keep this up. Ahem. Can they stay where they are, for a while anyway?

      I've homework from Iphi, but if you think of a different No, feel free to add to the list :-)

    • profile image

      Tiffany Necklaces 

      11 years ago

      Watch out this space for updates :-)

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      11 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      So do we get to see the new "No"s? or are you going to save them for a part deaux? I'm over here practicing all kinds of "no"s. So far I think they fit into all categories including the new ones. But I'll let you know if I come up with anything. =]

      Oh duh! They're at the end. Move them up! Move them up!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, Arthur! And here I am, so early in the morning, with some homework from Iphigenia, new Nos await my critical eye :-) Thanks!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Oi, Ihpi! Elena is a clown, isn't she :) Cynical Nah I think I can do, but the teenager variety I'm not so sure. I can try though, it never hurt to try. Watch out this space for updates :-)

    • Arthur Gulumian profile image

      Arthur Gulumian 

      11 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      To say the least this gave me an interesting new perspective on the word "no" lol - you made proper points and have a great author's tone, nice job.

    • profile image

      Iphigenia 

      11 years ago

      What about the cynical "Nah" - sometimes drawn out to blend sarcasm and cynicism : "Naaahhhhh" often followed by a snort.

      Then there's the repetitive : "Oh, nonononononononono no you don't!" (Often said to teenagers who then 'do' )

      Elena. friend, listener in distress, tree climber, you make me laugh YES you do !

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      You have a knack for making Elena laugh, J! :-) OK, then, no NO for you ;-)

    • profile image

      Janetta 

      11 years ago

      Well E, my NO's are usually repetitive NO's. No no no no!!! LOL or postscripted NO's..."No. We do not stick things up our noses." or "No. We do not eat crayons."

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Thanks, KentJacob! Who new that a NO hub would have folks saying YES, that's fun :-)

    • KentJacob profile image

      KentJacob 

      11 years ago

      Your "No" hub just got me sold on saying YES to becoming your fan. great hubs you got!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Glad you had fun, bingskee :-)

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 

      11 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      this is fun, Elena. never thought that saying no can also be classified and you're right.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Laugh! You must practice OR your kids must clean up their ears! Kids are known to hear what they want to hear, aren't they?

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      11 years ago from UK

      Whenever I say 'no' to my kids, they hear 'yes' or 'maybe'. I must practice my 'authoritive no'! LOL!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Cheers, Violet ;-)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      11 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      LOL! Elena, received your email and read your addition to the no's below the comments capsule. The "nope" took on a charming twist with your words. I also enjoyed yourt take on Dohn's "no", I love it!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      So, tell me, Ms Janetta... how does that make you feel? :-) Do you think you could give me a No I could work with, or did I already capture the whole range of nos you would utter, even if no one listens to them? ;-)

    • profile image

      Janetta 

      11 years ago

      I feel like I say 'NO' about three hundred times a day. Of course no one ever seems to hear it around here... :D

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      FP, shame on me, if my advice didn't work :-) I do remember, I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the time. Almost a year ago, whaddaya know! BESOS!

      Thank you, alekhouse! I guess we're at the same juncture in our lives then, as I have no trouble with No either. Au contraire, I observe how NO is said, or unsaid, at this point, and rejoice at how I don't play that game anymore :-)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Heya, Linda! Not too hard, the hardest part is to keep it 100 words and meaningful. How come you didn't gimme a No that I could elaborate on? I'd be delighted to give you a NO that you fancied :-)

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I really like this hub. I have absolutely no problem saying no at this juncture in my life. It took me a while to learn that I didn't have to fear rejection, abandonment, retaliation, etc. I now say it like I mean it. Thanks, Elena

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      11 years ago

      This brings to mind a hub I wrote on learning to say 'no'...and you were so aghast at my inability to say this little word you emailed me with advice! Has it worked? I really don't no...er...know! :P

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Dohn & Violet, did the deed. Deeds, rather. Saludos!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Oi, Violet, that's a good one! Not that I would know how this "nope" works, as I've never ever in my life uttered any such thing.... AHEM! :-)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      11 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      How about the non emotional, detached, "nope"? That seems final somehow: have been there, done that. ;)

      Enjoyed the "no" hub! :)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, dohn, and thanks! The "downcast no" could also be called the "lying No", couldn't it? I am noting this one down :-)

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 

      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      The downcast "No" is one that is a dishonest "No." For instance:

      Wife: "Are you lying to me George???"

      Husband George: (Looks down and slumps and says in the in a mouse's tone) "No."

      I enjoyed this and I'm pretty sure that there are a dozen more "No's" that you could still cover. Thanks.

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