The “Or No” Meme

Its been a couple of years since I pointed out a trite language meme, “Whatever” in 2015, which was pre-dated by “So Much” in 2014 and “Oh-My-God” in 2012.  Those were all declarative phrases/add-ons, but this year’s winner is a superfluous add-on to the end of a question:  Are you ready, or not?


Actually, that is the meme, but it isn’t expressed as “or not”.  Instead, “or no” is substituted for “or not”.  So in the example above, if you’re speaking with someone who can respond, then the tag-on “or not” would be superfluous.  If you say to someone who’s hiding “Ready or not, here I come”, the “or not” opposite side of the coin is appropriate.  Because the answer to the question doesn’t matter — you’re coming regardless.  But when the person you’re addressing is available to answer, then “or no” adds nothing.  It’s mere linguistic filler.  Listen carefully, and you’ll hear people increasingly pose questions this way:  “Will you be right back, or no?”  Why not simply ask “Will you be right back?”  The irony is that in texting, language has become truncated.

So do you get my point, or no?


About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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