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    Subject - verb arrangement with "none of ..."

    In many constructions, these (each, either, every, everybody, neither, nobody, none, no one, etc.) govern a singular verb, but sometimes contextual considerations lead to the use of a plural verb.
    Example -

    1. None of her features is particularly striking.
    2. None of our fundamental problems have been solved.
    How "contextual consideration" leads to plural verb in the above examples?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: Subject - verb arrangement with "none of ..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_From_India View Post
    How does "contextual consideration" leads lead to a plural verb in the above examples?
    I would use "are" in sentence 1, not "is". However, that is because I think of it as "She has no features which are striking". If you think of it as "She does not have one feature which is striking", then the singular is appropriate.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Re: Subject - verb arrangement with "none of ..."

    In your title, it should be subject-verb agreement. "None" as a subject is controversial. Many people assert that it is always singular, because It means "not one". But it also means "not any". This is governed more by notional agreement/concord than by strict syntax. With words that are used for a part of the whole, (some, none, percentages, etc.) the number of the verb is often dictated by the object of the preposition that follows it.

    None of the cake has been eaten.
    None of the cakes are missing.

    This is the usage note from American Heritage Dictionary:

    Usage Note: It is widely asserted that none is equivalent to no one, and hence requires a singular verb and singular pronoun: None of the prisoners was given his soup. It is true that none is etymologically derived from the Old English word ān, "one," but the word has been used as both a singular and a plural noun from Old English onward. The plural usage appears in the King James Bible as well as the works of John Dryden and Edmund Burke and is widespread in the works of respectable writers today. Of course, the singular usage is perfectly acceptable. The choice between a singular or plural verb depends on the desired effect. Both options are acceptable in this sentence: None of the conspirators has (or have) been brought to trial.When none is modified by almost, however, it is difficult to avoid treating the word as a plural: Almost none of the officials were (not was) interviewed by the committee. None can only be plural in its use in sentences such as None but his most loyal supporters believe (not believes) his story. See Usage Notes at every,neither, nothing.
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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