neither of them is or are?

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light

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hi,
Which one is grammmatically correct?

a. neither of them was here.
b. neither of them were here.

c. none of them is mine.
d. none of them are mine.
 

RonBee

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All of them.
 

light

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But it doesn't make sense... does it?

I'm not talking about how the layman talks.
Grammatically, neither of them refers to zero/nothing so it gotta be singular.
What is the justification behind this plural verb concept? I need to understand.
 

RonBee

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It depends.
Neither of them was here.

Neither of them were here.

Neither was here.

None of them is mine.

None of them are mine.
:)
 

light

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thanks,

but depends on what?

don't you agree with 'none of them' being nothing therefore requiring a singular verb?

I'd really appreciate if you could be a bit more specific? (this is causing feverish debate among some of my friends at work:)
 

RonBee

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—Usage note Since none has the meanings “not one” and “not any,” some insist that it always be treated as a singular and be followed by a singular verb: The rescue party searched for survivors, but none was found. However, none has been used with both singular and plural verbs since the 9th century. When the sense is “not any persons or things” (as in the example above), the plural is more common: … none were found. Only when none is clearly intended to mean “not one” or “not any” is it followed by a singular verb: Of all my articles, none has received more acclaim than my latest one.
none - Definitions from Dictionary.com

—Usage note As an adjective or pronoun meaning “not either,” neither is usually followed by a singular verb and referred to by a singular personal pronoun: Neither lawyer prepares her own briefs. Neither performs his duties for reward. When neither is followed by a prepositional phrase with a plural object, there has been, ever since the 17th century, a tendency, especially in speech and less formal writing, to use a plural verb and personal pronoun: Neither of the guards were at their stations. In edited writing, however, singular verbs and pronouns are more common in such constructions: Neither of the guards was at his station.
neither - Definitions from Dictionary.com
It depends.
:)
 

light

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thanks for the explanation you forwarded.

from my point of view, if there isn't anything,it cannot be plural . still if some people think that zero/nothing cannot be singular either, so perhaps english needs a third verb form for this kind of situation... or is it too late and my brain is about to crash :-~

p.s. long live prescriptives:)
 

Soup

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Ted, the author of the post referenced above, argues,
... I will remain a "purist." "Neither [not this one and not that one] of the children WANTS to go to bed." "None [not the first, the second, the third, etc.] of the shops was open."

My reasoning? Both "children" and "shops" are OBJECTS OF PREPOSITIONS. The verb is determined by the SUBJECT of the sentence, and NOT by the OBJECTS OF THE PREPOSITIONS.

It could just as likely be argued that neither of in neither of the children functions as a pre-modifier meaning "both", making the noun the children the subject, and the reason speakers opt for a plural verb:
Ex: Neither of the children want to go to bed.
=> Both of the children don't want to go to bed.
 

Soup

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from my point of view, if there isn't anything, it cannot be plural . still if some people think that zero/nothing cannot be singular either, ...
Grammar isn't math though, but if it were, zero would still not equate to 1, a singluar verb.
 
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