Pattern: X or No X


To express firm resolution or determination, we have a variety of phrase patterns that we often use.

The phrase pattern “X or no X” means that the conclusion will be the same,
regardless of whether Condition X exists or not.

  1. Rain or no rain, I’m going to a movie.
    (I don’t care if it rains or not; I am still going.)
  2. Money or no money, I will find a way to get that dress!
    (If I get some money, I will buy it. If I can’t get any money, perhaps I will steal it. Either way, I will GET that dress!)
  3. Abe: Your sister is getting married to John. That may endanger your inheritance if she dies.Bob: Bah! Marriage or no marriage, I will find a way to get my share of her inheritance. And when I do (find a way), I can most certainly guarantee you that she will die sooner rather than later, if I have any say (influence) in the matter.

Other patterns that are very similar:

  1. Come rain or shine, I’m going to a movie.
    (If either rain or (sun)shine should come…)
  2. Rain or not, I’m going to a movie. (Should it “rain or not”,…)
  3. Come Hell or high water, I will get what I want.
    (Hell = fiery damnation (profanity); high water = flood)
    (No matter what disaster or adverse circumstances may try to block me, I will succeed despite any obstacle that may get in my way.)

Challenge to Students

  1. Provide two example sentences using the “X or no X” pattern.
  2. If you can think of other patterns with the same meaning, provide them as well.

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