none of the books is interesting

Tara2

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Does #1 mean "one of the books is not interesting but the rest of them are interesting?
Does #2 mean "all of the books aren't interesting?
1- none of the books is interesting.
2- none of the books are interesting.
 

Roman55

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Both singular and plural can be used, and the meaning is almost exactly the same. The only difference would be one of emphasis. I use the plural more often than not.
 

Rover_KE

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1- None of the books is interesting.
2- None of the books are interesting.
Don't forget to capitalise.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Can we always use a plural or singular verb with "none" with the same meanings?
I got none is hammered into me at an early age. For me, none is a contraction of no one and is always singular.

But that's my preference. People go both ways and don't often get into fights about it.
 

Tdol

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The grammar purists argue that a negative here shouldn't be plural, and they were the ones hammering this into Charlie when he was an innocent child. Nowadays, people care less and less about this, so the plural is widely used. I tend to take a flexible approach and use the form that seems to fit my intended meaning better. ;-)
 

Roman55

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The grammar purists argue that a negative here shouldn't be plural, and they were the ones hammering this into Charlie when he was an innocent child. Nowadays, people care less and less about this, so the plural is widely used.

This gives the impression that it is somehow wrong to use the plural, but that standards have dropped to a level where it isn't that important. If you scroll down to the usage note here you'll see that the "purists" are about a thousand years out of date on this one.
 

jutfrank

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Oxford seems to me to be contradicting itself when it says:

"There is little justification, historical or grammatical, for this view."

and then goes on to say:

"None is descended from Old English nān, meaning ‘not one,’"

That seems to be a very strong grammatical justification for using the singular form.
 

GoesStation

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Oxford seems to me to be contradicting itself when it says:

"There is little justification, historical or grammatical, for this view."

and then goes on to say:

"None is descended from Old English nān, meaning ‘not one,’"

That seems to be a very strong grammatical justification for using the singular form.
The two statements are not at all contradictory. None may descend from a word meaning "not one"; the dictionary doesn't say whether that word was treated as singular. The first statement suggests that it wasn't.
 

Roman55

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The word it originally descended from meant not one. I'd call that the "little justification" they mention. A thousand years of usage trumps that.
 

jutfrank

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The two statements are not at all contradictory. None may descend from a word meaning "not one"; the dictionary doesn't say whether that word was treated as singular. The first statement suggests that it wasn't.

The word one would naturally take a singular verb form. It's precisely for this reason that the first statement seems contradictory to me.

... if we could, 'not-one' could be neither singular (it is not one) nor plural (it is not more than one). As we lack a no-number verb form, we are apparently free to choose the singular or plural form as we wish.

That's makes sense logically but not grammatically. The negation not does not change anything grammatically. There is still the word one.

The word it originally descended from meant not one. I'd call that the "little justification" they mention. A thousand years of usage trumps that.

Please don't get me wrong as I completely agree with you. I'm just pointing out that there is a grammatical argument, which many still try to make.

This does appear to be a live issue for certain academic textbook writers. I came across an IELTS preparation book just recently in which one of the exercises involved choosing the 'correct' singular verb agreements in sentences with neither and none. To be on the safe side, I advise my IELTS and EAP students to use the singular form.
 

Tdol

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This gives the impression that it is somehow wrong to use the plural, but that standards have dropped to a level where it isn't that important. If you scroll down to the usage note here you'll see that the "purists" are about a thousand years out of date on this one.

I had lots of purism drummed into me as a child, but I done't remember this. If I was was a cardinal sin, but I don't remember the Charlie Bernstein hammering on this issue.
 

GoesStation

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I had lots of purism drummed into me as a child....
Practically none of the dogmatic grammar rules misguided English teachers used to try to enforce were justifiable. :)
 

Tara2

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Are both correct?
she's always looking for ideas. None ever come/comes
 

GeneD

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This does appear to be a live issue for certain academic textbook writers. I came across an IELTS preparation book just recently in which one of the exercises involved choosing the 'correct' singular verb agreements in sentences with neither and none. To be on the safe side, I advise my IELTS and EAP students to use the singular form.
Which tag (singular or plural) would you advise your students to use in sentences like mentioned above to be on the safe side?
 

jutfrank

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Which tag (singular or plural) would you advise your students to use in sentences like mentioned above to be on the safe side?

In the quote of mine in post #22, I was talking about my students of academic English, where question tags don't generally figure. To other students I might give different advice.

What I myself would naturally say are things like:

None of these books are interesting, are they?
None of them are coming, are they?

Use the same auxiliary verb in the tag as is used in the main part of the sentence.
 
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