Let's look at the sentence "It's not it"

In Hebrew it's "זה לא זה" (lit. it no it)

In French C'est n'est pas ca

In all the languages I'm familiar with, in order to say "It's not it", one needs at leat three words - one specifying the object we're talking about, another word in order to specify the object we compare with, and at least one word to make the negative predicate happen. Obviously different languages may decorate these three words with more words, because the grammatical construct requires it (just like in French)

My question is : is there a language where we can say "it's not it" with less than three words?

  • 4
    Do you require both "it"s to be explicit? Because there are many pro-drop languages where it's totally natural to drop pronouns if it's clear from context, so you can end up with "is not it" or even "is not", which can be expressed in two/one word(s) in Korean, for example.
    – jick
    Sep 21, 2018 at 18:26
  • 4
    @jick heck, even in English, say I ask someone to send me a particular photo and they send the wrong one: "Not it!" Sep 22, 2018 at 16:11
  • 1
    You must specify the context. In Russian in some contexts we could say Не это, Этот нет and so on. Sep 22, 2018 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


As jick mentioned, there are languages where it's natural to drop the it

For instance, in Turkish, it's even more natural to drop it:

  • Bu o değil. (This is not that.)
  • Değil. (It isn't/It isn't it.)

Because the word değil already specifies that the pronoun is it. değilim is I'm not, değilsin is you're not/you aren't and değil is it isn't/it's not.

I had to change it to this, that in order to give natural feel. You can think of it like O değil. This is an issue with Turkish, but since you ask that is it possible to use subject + negation + object less than three words, I need to come up with an another sentence.

  • Bu o at mı? (Is this the horse (that you mentioned)?)
  • Değil (It's not it)

  • Bu bir at mı? (Is this a horse?)

  • Değil (It's not)

That değil word can mean it isn't, it isn't it regarding the question. Also, it can't be used in meaning of simply no.

  • Bu o at mı? (Is this the horse (that you mentioned)?)
  • Hayır (No.) - This one is correct.

  • Bu at koşuyor mu? (Is this horse running?)

  • Değil (It isn't.) - This one is incorrect., right negative answer would be hayır.

It's meaningless to use all the pronouns in Turkish. O o değil. I have never heard that.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.