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    #1

    None - singular or plural?

    Which is correct:

    'None of them was willing to help me' or 'none of them were willing to help me'?

    It strikes me that 'none' is the opposite of 'all,' in which case it should be 'were.' Equally, however, 'none' appears to be a contraction of 'not one,' in which case 'was' would appear to be correct.

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    #2

    Re: None - singular or plural?

    You've independently discovered a much-debated point of usage. I think most authorities nowadays see "none" as plural, in the same way that "zero" can be plural: "there were zero successes in thirty attempts."
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: None - singular or plural?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, JJ:

    The best advice that I have read says this:

    Use "were" if you mean "not any": "None of the passengers were hurt in the plane crash."

    Say "not one" + "was" if that is the emphatic idea that you wish to give: "I will never forgive my 30 classmates. When I asked them for a loan to help me pay for this month's rent, not one was kind enough to help me out, even though I had often brought donuts to class to share with everyone."
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 26-Jan-2016 at 17:52. Reason: Fixing typo.

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