Consider the following sentence:

Legalised gambling is no different from imposing extra taxation on the poor. That is because the poor tend to spend a bigger proportion of their disposable income on gambling than people who are financially better off.

I wonder whether the use of no different above is interchangeable with not different. If not, what should be the rule of using each expression?

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Original Post
"no different from" means " sounds stronger than
"not different from" .

1. He is no teacher.
He is anything but a teacher. He can never be regarded/considered as a teacher.

2.He is not a teacher.
He may be a student, or an office worker, but not a teacher.

masami fujii
Angel is correct. The "not" in "(X) is not different from (Y)" simply negates the verb, not the adjective. It has no special force over and above its function of verb negation.

In contrast, the adjective" no" modifies the (gradable) adjective "different." It is an expression of zero degree of the property the adjective describes. For that reason it is, as Masami suggests, "stronger."

Here is a sample hierarchy of degree, from highest to lowest:

much different
a lot different
somewhat different
slightly different
not much different
A little different
little different
hardly different
no different

"No" in "no different" means "to zero degree of difference." The expression "(X) is no different from (Y)" means "(X) is different to no (zero) degree from (Y)." The sentence presented by Ananja means

Legalised gambling is different in no degree from imposing extra taxation on the poor.

Here's an example of usage with another adjective:

A: Do you feel that you're any better off now since you've been promoted?

B: I'm no better off economically than I was before, because I have a lot more expenses for entertaining, and I'm working even more hours. I should never have accepted the promotion.

The ultimate meaning of the two grammatical devices is essentially the same. They can both be understood to mean "(X) is exactly the same as (Y)." The use of no, however, makes the zero degree of difference more noticeable.

Marilyn Martin

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