In current theories of language comprehension, people routinely and implicitly predict upcoming words by pre-activating their meaning, morpho-syntactic features and even their specific phonological form. To date the strongest evidence for this latter form of linguistic prediction comes from a 2005 Nature Neuroscience landmark publication by DeLong, Urbach and Kutas, who observed a graded modulation of article- and noun-elicited electrical brain potentials (N400) by the pre-determined probability that people continue a sentence fragment with that word ('cloze'). In a direct replication study spanning 9 laboratories (N=334), we failed to replicate the crucial article-elicited N400 modulation by cloze, while we successfully replicated the commonly-reported noun-elicited N400 modulation. This pattern of failure and success was observed in a pre-registered replication analysis, a pre-registered single-trial analysis, and in exploratory Bayesian analyses. Our findings do not support a strong prediction view in which people routinely pre-activate the phonological form of upcoming words, and suggest a more limited role for prediction during language comprehension.