We are family!
Save 15% on all annual Premium plans »

plural or singular "none"

DonB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

plural or singular "none"

Some of your examples in this lesson sounded like nails on a chalkboard, so I did some research and would like to point out some needed corrections. (Note: I don't know if the British speak as in your examples, but Americans don't.)

Here is a link discussing whether "none" takes a singular or plural verb which corroborates my viewpoint. I used some of their examples. - https://www.thesaurus.com/e/grammar/none/

The rule is that if the word "none" is referencing a singular thing, then it takes a singular verb. If instead it is referencing plural things, then it takes a plural verb. So the following examples should be corrected.

The girls are going out tonight, but none (of them) ARE taking the train. ("girls" is plural)

None of your dresses FIT me. ("dresses" is plural)

None of his books ARE interesting. ("books" is plural)

Out of all the lies you told, none ARE believable.  ("lies" is plural)

None of them ARE interesting. ("them" is plural)

The following is an example of singular "none".

None of the pizza IS left. ("pizza" is singular)

However, none of the pizzas ARE left. ("pizzas" is plural)

Hope that helps.

Note: One of the examples at the link that I provided above is inaccurate. "None of the members ARE going." ("members" is plural, but they treat it as singular which is wrong)

One more: "Out of all of us, none ARE going to the meeting. ("us" is plural) For the same reason, the following is plural: "None of us ARE going to the meeting." ("us" is plural) (If you change "us" to "we", it may be easier to hear, although I hear it loud and clear with "us": like nails on a chalkboard!)

Asked 3 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Don,

We have discussed this with our English specialist and that's what she had to say -

"I do agree with Don - I would say The girls are going out tonight but none of them are taking the train  - not IS
None of your dresses fit me
Not one of his books are interesting    
Out of all the lies you told, none are believable  

It does also depend on whether the noun is single or plural 

None of the air is polluted
None of the pizza is left 

As Jim says the explanation for the French is correct. And I agree that technically it does mean, 'Not one of them...' leading to 'is' -- but it is much more natural to use the plural now.  

In formal styles, we use none of with a singular verb when it is the subject. However, in informal speaking, people often use plural verbs:

None of that surprises me.
Indeed, none of his novels is well shaped or well written.

None of the products have been tested on animals and all the bottles are recyclable. (informal)eg informally we'd say none of his novels ARE well-shaped ...."

In view of this, we have changed the examples accordingly.

In the case of the pizza, you just wouldn't use 'aucun/aucune' in French.

You would have to say something like-

Il ne reste plus de pizza/La pizza est finie = None of the pizza is left 

You might use 'aucun/aucune' to say -

On ne vend aucune pizza dans cet établissement We don't sell any pizzas ( whatsoever) in this establishement

Hope this helps!

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Don,

It occurs to me that when it is written "None of them ......"  it is expressing "Not ONE of them" so I'm not sure that I can agree with your analysis.

However, let's see what the other contributors may comment.

Jim

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Don is right. Whether "none" is followed by singular or plural depends on whether it refers to a single item ("none of the pizza") or a collection ("none of the them"). That's what trustworthy internet sources seem to agree on, even though "none = not one" seems to suggest singular all the time.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

But doesn't this:-

"Note three things: 

aucun/e ne is always followed by singular in French (even though in modern English, none of them are is sometimes considered acceptable)

 aucun/aucune agree in gender with the object it refers to

You have to use the negation ne/n' unlike in English"

 from the lesson explain, for the French?

Jim

MikeB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I agree with Jim.  "None" is a contraction No One.  In the French fashion, the superfluous "o" has been dropped.  "No one of them are going" sounds bad.  "One" is the subject, "of them" is a prepositional phrase.  Yes, using a plural verb with a singular subject is commonly done.  That doesn't make it right.

MikeB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I agree with Jim.  "None" is a contraction No One.  In the French fashion, the superfluous "o" has been dropped.  "No one of them are going" sounds bad.  "One" is the subject, "of them" is a prepositional phrase.  Yes, using a plural verb with a singular subject is commonly done.  That doesn't make it right.

plural or singular "none"

Some of your examples in this lesson sounded like nails on a chalkboard, so I did some research and would like to point out some needed corrections. (Note: I don't know if the British speak as in your examples, but Americans don't.)

Here is a link discussing whether "none" takes a singular or plural verb which corroborates my viewpoint. I used some of their examples. - https://www.thesaurus.com/e/grammar/none/

The rule is that if the word "none" is referencing a singular thing, then it takes a singular verb. If instead it is referencing plural things, then it takes a plural verb. So the following examples should be corrected.

The girls are going out tonight, but none (of them) ARE taking the train. ("girls" is plural)

None of your dresses FIT me. ("dresses" is plural)

None of his books ARE interesting. ("books" is plural)

Out of all the lies you told, none ARE believable.  ("lies" is plural)

None of them ARE interesting. ("them" is plural)

The following is an example of singular "none".

None of the pizza IS left. ("pizza" is singular)

However, none of the pizzas ARE left. ("pizzas" is plural)

Hope that helps.

Note: One of the examples at the link that I provided above is inaccurate. "None of the members ARE going." ("members" is plural, but they treat it as singular which is wrong)

One more: "Out of all of us, none ARE going to the meeting. ("us" is plural) For the same reason, the following is plural: "None of us ARE going to the meeting." ("us" is plural) (If you change "us" to "we", it may be easier to hear, although I hear it loud and clear with "us": like nails on a chalkboard!)

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Clever stuff happening!