How do you say "none"?

How do you say none?
Like, zero

The question in my book is: 鉛筆が何本欲しいですか。
How do I say I don’t want any? ゼロ本?

How would this change if another counter was used?

I don’t mean 欲しくない. I want to know how you count to zero. And negatives! How does that work?

I can’t seem to figure this out with google for some reason


In this context I would probably just say いらないです。(I don’t need it)


Yeah, even in English, “I want zero pencils” is a slightly odd thing to say - you’d say “I don’t want any”.

Negative is just マイナス(number). マイナス一、マイナス二、マイナス三 et cetera. There are very few things you can actually count with negative numbers, though.


I need negative 4 pencils.


How do you say this?

This was a bad example. I just want to know how you count zero things. 零つ? 零こ?

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欲しくない, like you suggested. Or いらない, like @WaniTsunami suggested.


Deleted my comment because I feel like I don’t want to generalize. There’s no one way to say “none”.

There are many, depending on the situation.


so there’s no such thing as 零本 or anything similar?

零本 is actually a specific word that means “fragmentary remains of a large set of writings; the odd volume; a few pages”, but no, you generally do not put a counter on 零.

1本も~ない works as well for things counted by 本. Kind of literally “I don’t [something] even one [long thing]”



But then how do you say no pencils/zero pencils? I’m obligated to use 無い?

Not sure what isn’t clear, so I’ll pass the baton to someone else who wants to try.

I get it now. えんぴつは一本も欲しくない。 I don’t want even one pencil.


Leebo’s essentially phrasing what the grammar structure means with placeholders in place of actual words.

ソーセージを一本も食べなかった = I didn’t eat even a single sausage.
マジックを一本も好きじゃない = I don’t like even a single (magic) marker

Or in general
~を一本も~ない = I don’t [verb/adjective] even a single [noun that’s being counted with the long things counter]

That works, yep. 鉛筆がない = there aren’t any pencils (here)



Is this a thing or is the translator wrong?
Would it be acceptable in any context?

Nothing is acceptable in all contexts, and honestly, I’m struggling to think of any sentence where “zero pencils” sounds like a thing you would say even in English.

Try adding context to the text you’re asking the translator to translate and see what happens.


Sounds like a thing where taking inventory.

Two notebooks.
One marker.
Zero pencils.

Or if the number is automated and the counter is there by default.


Well that does say 0 pencils, but if you were to ever say “0 pencils” in Japanese I don’t see the need for 鉛筆. Assuming you were talking about them beforehand, you can just say 0本.

Also I wouldn’t rely on MTL for anything except Google Translate’s kanji identify feature. They’re notoriously inaccurate.

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I’ve been asking if this was a thing for like, an hour, and people have just been saying “not really”.

1- How do you read it?
2- In which context would you use it instead of 無い? Like, the inventory thing?
3- What would this be if the question was なんこ or いくつ instead of なんぼん?

I put two pencils on my desk and asked my coworker. She said 2本. Took one away, she said 一本. Took one more away and she said ゼロ本. 零本 is also fine apparently. There ya go. Apparently it’s fine.

People usually don’t use it, but it’s a thing.


That’s kinda the point we’ve been making there. Does it exist? Sure. Would you ever use it in a sentence? … Not really.