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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

    Why is deserve plural when none is singular in this proverb? Is it an exceptional case?

    ex)None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

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    #2

    Re: None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

    None but the brave means only brave people so the correct form is

    None but the brave deserve the fair.Prov. Only a courageous and gallant man deserves a beautiful woman.; Only the best deserves the best. Stop making excuses and just call Gina. None but the brave deserve the fair.
    (Free Dictionary)

    Rover

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    None but the brave means only brave people so the correct form is


    (Free Dictionary)

    Rover
    Yes that's true, but Dryden's original text, from Alexander's Feast 1697, has "deserves".

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    #4

    Re: None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

    Also, for those studying 200-year-old poetry, Dyden's text also includes sate (sat), quire (choir) and hautboys (oboes).

    Rover

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    #5

    Re: None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

    I think you can be flexible about this and would say that, in my opinion anyway, the use of 'none' has come to mean not only 'not one/no-one'. It also now covers 'not any', and thus can take a plural verb where appropriate.

    "Is there any sugar?" can be answered with "No, there isn't any", but also with "No, there's none." (= not any + singular)

    "We're all really tired, so none of us are going to the cinema tonight. We just can't be bothered." (= not any + plural)

    "Are there any people left inside? No, there are none." (plural + not any)

    In the last two we want to emphasize the plurality: 'we're all not going', rather than 'not one of us is going', 'people' rather than 'person'. This also makes your quotation reasonable, as 'the brave' refers to 'all brave people'.

    I have a feeling this may be disputed. Fire away!

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: None but the brave deserve(s) the fair?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Yes that's true, but Dryden's original text, from Alexander's Feast 1697, has "deserves".
    Until the early-mid 20th century there was a belief (followed by a prescription that lasted well into my education) that 'none' means 'not one' and so takes a verb in the singular. Dryden was just doing what he was told!

    b

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