Contact the Grammar Anarchist with your questions about grammar and language at
Get a personal reply at

Friday, August 5, 2011

Please, put me out of my misery: “None”, singular or plural?

Rest easy; none can be both singular and plural, depending on how you want to use it. Generally, I use the singular pronoun, as in its original meaning “no one”. Here are your choices: 1) when none is followed by a preposition modifier (none of the people believe), choose the plural, as you would if modified by “almost” (almost none believe...). Or 2) choose the singular (none of the people believes), meaning “not even one person believes”.


Bettyjane said...

I learned that "none" is singular...always. Now there's a rule to stick by.

The Grammar Anarchist said...

Stick if you must, BJ, but a "rule" doesn't have a "sometime" attached. And this one does. Sometimes, none of the "rules" apply (there, for instance).