Headlines and Titles of Works

Q. I’m an editor at a law firm. I was recently asked whether there is any difference between “no more than” and “not more than,” as in “Violator will be sentenced to no/not more than five years in prison.” I took a poll in the office, and the other editors said they prefer “no more than,” but they pointed out that “not more than” is common in the legal context.

A. Unless there is some difference in official top-secret legal lingo (which would not surprise me), “no” = “not” in this phrase.