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.
- Rain or no rain, I’m going to a movie.
(I don’t care if it rains or not; I am still going.)
- 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!)
- 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:
- Come rain or shine, I’m going to a movie.
(If either rain or (sun)shine should come…)
- Rain or not, I’m going to a movie. (Should it “rain or not”,…)
- 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
- Provide two example sentences using the “X or no X” pattern.
- If you can think of other patterns with the same meaning, provide them as well.