Is none singular or plural?

March 16, 2017

Dr. Kathryn Sobek, Filipodia Editor

 

This question seems to strike up lively debates among grammar enthusiasts.

 

One side of the debate claims that none is always singular because it is short for ‘no one’ or ‘not one.’

 

The other side claims that none can be plural when it means ‘not any person or things.’

 

 

I consulted the American Medical Association’s Manual of Style. Their position is that none can be singular or plural depending on what it is referring to.

 

Examples

 

None of the media was contaminated. (singular)

 

None of the patients diagnosed with lung cancer were candidates for the clinical trial. (plural)

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