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None are/None is

I’m an unfortunate high school student who had to take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills today, and an interesting problem came up. Is it “none are” or “none is”? (I’m leaning towards “none is,” even though I normally say “none are”).

Are there circumstances when both are correct?

  • February 22, 2005
  • Posted by xuan
  • Filed in Grammar

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I agree with Whitters, nice work.

clickmaadi March 22, 2005, 8:06am

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Thanks a lot, Whitters! That finally clears up that nagging problem (I've had it eating away at the back of my mind for painful hours...haha). :)

And I also thank speedwell for his sympathy. Sympathy is always good. :D And yes, the TAKS test is evil. I especially hate the long essay part. It uses too many parts of my brain that are rusty and dystrophied. :P

xuan February 24, 2005, 8:30pm

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As a Houstonian myself, xuan, I really sympathize with you and all the other people who took the TAKS test yesterday. (MUST they call it "TAKS?" Seems like the government is tax-crazy, huh.)

speedwell2 February 24, 2005, 8:42am

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"None" can be singular or plural, depending on the noun or pronoun to which it refers. Formal usage typically uses the singular, but either one is acceptable.

A general rule of thumb is as follows:
-If the noun/pronoun is uncountable, use the singular. ("None of the hay has been eaten.")
-If the noun/pronoun is countable, you may use either one. ("None of the horses is/are very hungry.")

polyesterbride February 23, 2005, 4:28pm

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Yes     No