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Thread: All & None

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Question All & None

    Some questions which appear in a worksheet for Primary 5 students:
    (answers are in red)

    1) All (is/are) lost. is

    2) All (is/are) well. is

    3) All (is/are) welcome. are

    I'm confused. Why is it not consistent? I always thought that 'All" should be followed by 'are'.

    How about 'None'?

    1) None of the girls (has/have) hairpins. has
    2) None of us (is/are) perfect. is
    3) None (is/are) so fallible as those who are sure they are right. is

    Am I right to conclude that 'None' always take the singular verb - has & is ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Default Re: All & None

    'all' and 'none' can be singular or plural. The verb agrees in number with their referent:

    1a) All is lost. (Everything is lost.) *set expression
    1b) All are lost. (All of the people on the boat are lost.)

    2a) All is well. (Everything is well.) *set expression
    2b) All are well. (All the people on the boat are well.)

    3a) All are welcome. (All of you are welcome.)
    3b) All is welcome. (Anything you want to do is welcome.)

    How about 'None'?
    If you want 'none' to mean not a single one of, then use a singular verb, and if you want 'none' to mean not any, then use a plural verb:

    1a) None of them has hairpins. (not a single one of them)
    1b) None of them have hairpins. (not any of them)

    2a) None of us (not a single one of us) is perfect.
    2b) None of us (not any of us) are perfect.

    3a) None (not a single one of us) is so fallible as those who are sure they are right.
    3b) None (not any of us) are so fallible as those who are sure they are right.

    Examples 1a), 2a), and 3a) follow the (basic) traditional rule. Know the rule, then the exceptions, right? That's probably why your son's teacher hasn't yet talked about the b examples.

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