Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. Unregistered
    Guest
    #1

    "none"

    Is "none" plural or singular?

    I want to say, "None of us know anything." Is it supposed to be "None of us knows anything"?

    Thank you

    Chrissy
    Last edited by Casiopea; 12-Feb-2005 at 00:51. Reason: email address removed. If you register, a notification that there has been a reply to your posts will be sent to your email address.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: "none"

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    Is "none" plural or singular? I want to say, "None of us know anything." Is it supposed to be "None of us knows anything"?
    Most teachers consider "none" singular; that it means, not one:

    Not one of us knows anything. None of us knows anything.

    But other teachers consider "none of____" singular and plural; that the verb agrees in number with either "none" or the word that comes after "of":

    Not one of us knows anything. (singular) None of us knows.
    Not one of us know anything. (plural) None of us know.

    Quote Originally Posted by cited from worldwidewords.com
    Our modern form none comes from the Old English nan. Though this is indeed a contraction of ne an, no one, it was inflected in Old English and had different forms in singular and plural, showing that it was commonly used both ways—King Alfred used it in the plural as far back as the year 888.

    The big Oxford English Dictionary has a whole section on the plural form of none, pointing out that it is frequently used to mean “no persons” (with writers preferring no one when they mean the singular) and that historical records show that its use in the plural is actually more common than in the singular. There are examples cited in the entry from many of the best English writers (and there’s also an instance in the Authorised Version of the Bible: “None of these things move me”, from Acts, chapter 20). On modern usage, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage says, “It appears that writers generally make it singular or plural according to whatever their idea is when they write”.

    Such writers, me included, follow the sense—we use the plural or singular form according to whether it’s one or many things that we’re writing about. This grammatical construction, which is based on sense rather than form, has the grand name of notional agreement or notional concord, and is very common (so common that we often don’t notice we’re doing it).

    So none of you are right when you accuse me of being ungrammatical.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •