Is "None" Singular or Plural?

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Q: The word “none” should always be singular, right?
—Anonymous

A: This is a major misconception. "None" can be a singular pronoun if it's referring to "not one" or "no part," but it also can be plural when referring to "not any." None of the apple was eaten. Apple is a singular item, so you'd use the singular verb "was." None of the ballplayers were on the team bus after the game. Here, "none" refers to "not any of the ballplayers" just as much as it refers to "not one of the ballplayers," so it can be plural. Pluralizing it not only makes it a clearer sentence, but also makes it less awkward to read.


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