You’ve seen the word noone in social media comments and in the text thread with your cool 14-year-old cousin. Does that mean noone is an acceptable way to spell no one? Sorry, but no — like most things you see online (and in conversations with teenagers), choosing between noone and no one is a bit more complicated than it seems on the screen.
No one means “no person” and is synonymous with nobody. It’s always spelled as two words — never noone.
All style guides and dictionaries agree that no one is the preferred version, and noone is the nonstandard spelling (which most word authorities agree is incorrect).
It’s easy to understand why people confuse no one and noone. After all, no one is an indefinite pronoun, and most other indefinite pronouns are only one word.
Even the indefinite pronouns that begin with no or end with one:
It seems perfectly natural that no one should be noone if these are its fellow indefinite pronouns.
But these words are also compound words. When a word ends in a vowel (as no ends in “o”) and another word begins with the same vowel (as one begins with “o”), they need to have a space between them — also known as an open compound — to avoid confusion.
Compound words can also be hyphenated. And in cases where words share ending and beginning letters (such as co-op or drip-proof), it’s common to hyphenate the word. So is no-one the answer here?
Sadly, no. No-one is considered an uncommon spelling of no one, and it’s even less popular than noone.
Forget the hyphen and hit the spacebar instead.
Not only is no one an indefinite pronoun, it’s grammatically negative. When you use it to replace a noun, you also need to change the verb to avoid a double negative.
But replacing nouns with no one and a positive verb results in very similar messages:
- My family doesn’t like my cooking.
- No one doesn’t like my cooking. (Incorrect — double negative)
- No one likes my cooking. (Correct)
- My friends didn’t come to my birthday party.
- No one didn’t come to my birthday party. (Incorrect — double negative)
- No one came to my birthday party. (Correct)
Now that noone is officially off the table, can noone fans just switch to none instead of no one? In some cases, maybe — but not in general.
When none functions as an indefinite pronoun, it can be both singular and plural, so you need to adjust the verbs accordingly. For example:
- No one asks me anything.
- None ask me anything.
Also, unlike no one, which refers only to people, none can refer to any type of noun. For example:
- No one was there. (Refers to people not being there)
- None were there. (Could refer to anything — forks, books, giraffes, papers, and so on)
Don’t crowd an important pronoun like no one — let it have some space. Like all right and alright, or a lot and alot, pushing two real words together can only result in confusion and misspelling, even if your cool 14-year-old cousin is doing it.
No text or comment is too important to skip that integral space between no and one. (Unless you’re hashtagging, in which case, proceed.)