‘Know’ vs ‘No’: What’s the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on April 21, 2023

Are you wondering about the difference between 'know' vs. 'no?' If so, you are not alone. These two words confuse many people. Learning about confusing words like these can help you remember the differences and how to use them. So, look at this guide to learn the definitions, how to pronounce them, and how to use both correctly.

Need a quick answer?

Here it is:

  • 'Know' is a verb or noun that means you have knowledge, understanding, experience, or familiarity with something.
  • 'No' is an adverb, adjective, or noun typically used as a response to indicate you do not want any or that something does not apply. 

'Know' and 'no' sound similar. However, they have different meanings. So, it is essential to 'know' the difference between them.

When to Use 'Know' vs. 'No'

'Know' indicates that you have a skill, are familiar with something, or understand a concept. 'No,' on the other hand, is a typical response indicating that you do not want something or that information does not apply to you.

When determining when to use 'know' vs. 'no,' it is important to understand how to use them.

So, how do you 'know' which to use and when?

  • Use 'know' when referring to something you or someone else is personally familiar with, understands, or can do.

For example, I often say things like:

                    I know you can do it. You just need to believe in yourself and stick with it. 

  • Use 'no' when you do not want something or when information or a question does not apply to you.

For example, you could say:

                     I do not care how many times you ask me. The answer will always be no.

Use 'know' to indicate that you have knowledge or understanding of something and 'no' to show that something is false or as a response indicating that you do not want something. 

How to Use 'Know' vs. 'No' Correctly

'Know' is most commonly used as a verb. 'No' is typically an adverb or adjective. And both can be nouns. However, 'know' means that someone or something is aware of something or that they have a specific skill or experience.

For example:

  • Weren't you in the 'know' about the high crime rate there? I thought everyone knew that area was dangerous.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the noun form of 'no' means a denial, rejection, or negative vote.

For example:

  • At the last board meeting, the 'nos' outvoted the yeses three-to-one on the budget cuts. 

Sometimes, you may use the verb form of 'know' and the adverb or adjective 'no' in the same sentence.

For example:

  • A police officer can write you a ticket if they see your glass water bottle. Did you 'know' that 'no' glass containers are allowed on the beach? 

In the example, 'know' represents an understanding that 'no' glass containers can be on the beach. 'No' refers to glass containers and means they are strictly prohibited.

So, as you can see, you are not supposed to use these two words interchangeably.

Definition of 'Know': What Does 'Know' Mean?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, 'know' means:

  • To have information in your mind.

It can also mean:

  • To be certain.
  • To be aware.
  • To have familiarity.
  • To have knowledge.
  • To have a relationship.

Phrases Containing 'Know'

  • In the know
  • Nice to know you
  • Know it all
  • Let me know
  • It takes one to know one
  • Know how

Definition of 'No': What Does 'No' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'no' means:

  • Not

It can also mean:

  • Not a
  • Not any
  • None
  • Denial
  • Rejection
  • A negative vote

Phrases Containing 'No'

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Know' and 'No'

Are you wondering if 'know' and 'no' have the same pronunciation?

They do! 'Know' and 'no' are homophones. They have different spellings and definitions, but you pronounce them the same. 

The correct pronunciation or phonetic spelling of 'know' is:


The correct pronunciation or phonetic spelling of 'no' is:


How to Use 'Know' and 'No' in a Sentence

Now that you thoroughly understand the definitions and correct usages of 'know' and 'no,' let's look at some examples of each used in sentences.


  • Do you know the difference between poverty and wealth mindsets?
  • Do you know the new real estate laws? If not, you should look into them. They could impact your business.
  • How do you always know the right things to say? I wish I had your way with words.
  • Welcome aboard. Do you know the entire team? If not, I will introduce you at the staff meeting this afternoon.
  • I didn't know you knew Paul let alone that you two dated. I guess you could say you 'know' him intimately.
  • Do you know how to set the table?
  • Do you know the date of the next sale? I would love to get a few new outfits, but I do not have the money to pay the retail prices.


  • Please do not bring a date to the party. No couples are allowed tonight.
  • No one will be there in the morning. The office is not open on weekends.
  • The deadline is January 5th. No submissions received after the deadline will be read.
  • No, I do not want any more food.
  • The secretary will calculate the yeses and noes after the vote.
  • Most of the votes were nos.

Final Thoughts on 'Know' vs. 'No'

We just covered a ton of information on the difference between 'know' vs. 'no.' So, here is a quick recap:

  • 'Know' is a verb or noun that means to be familiar with or have knowledge or understanding of someone or something.  
  • 'No' is an adjective, adverb, or noun. You can use it as a reply to indicate that something does not apply or to indicate that you reject or deny something. 

These two words have different meanings and spellings, but the pronunciations are the same. An easy way to remember the difference is to remember that 'know' indicates that you have knowledge of something, while 'no' means none or not any. However, if you get stuck in the future, come back and visit for a refresher.

Before you go, check out the other words and phrases in the confusing words section. It is an excellent resource whether you are learning English or trying to become a better writer.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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