I have the same question as Is "none" singular or plural? How can I decide?, but it's closed as a duplicate to "None" as plural indefinite pronoun. The latter only concerns examples and etymology, and doesn't discuss the former's question on how to choose between a singular or plural verb. What are the similarities and differences between their usages?

Yet my English is rudimentary, so please correct and educate me if I missed something.

1 Answer 1


Surely Kosmonaut's answer at the duplicate — as well as one or two others — specifically addresses this?

With mass nouns, you have to use the singular. ("None of the wheat is...") With count nouns, you can use either the singular or the plural. ("None of the books is..." or "None of the books are...") Usually, the plural sounds more natural, unless you're trying to emphasize the idea of "not one", or if the words that follow work better in the singular.

[Kosmonaut, quoting alt-usage-english.org]

However, there are two answers at the "How can I decide?" question as well, both of which are good and support the view that either can be used.

The customary support for this view is that none necessarily means "not one" (implying singularity); in fact, "none" is just as likely to imply "not any" (implying plurality).

[masarah, quoting grammarmudge.cityslide.com]

As the "duplicate" notice says, you are quite at liberty to ask another question, if you can say how none of answers at the duplicate answers yours. That is, your question would need explicitly to say

Kosmonaut's answer here says

[quote the relevant part of his answer]

but that doesn't answer this question because [state the reason].

... and so on for some of the other answers.

Marking something as a duplicate does not necessarily mean that the accepted answer answers all variations of a question; nor even that the closed question is precisely the same as another — that would normally result in the questions being merged. It generally means that one of the answers provides enough information to answer the closed question, in much the same way as a reference book might provide examples which need to be adapted slightly to the problem in hand.

Thus, even if you do create a question as suggested here, that new question could still be closed as a duplicate if the community feel that your analysis is wrong and an existing question provides the answer. The community might find a different question, or it could even decide that one of the questions you have rejected does in fact answer your question. Hopefully someone will comment in that case and direct you to the specific answer in the duplicate question.

There is a standard Help page about duplicate questions. They are intended to be signposts to good answers, which is why they are allowed and closed with the [duplicate] label: they provide landing-points for searches using particular words, which then point to the answer. The potential asker may not have thought to use the particular search term which goes straight to the answer.

  • 2
    What a diligent, cogent, measured, thorough answer this is! You show once again why ELU is lucky to have you as a mod. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 18:57
  • @FumbleF Yes, you are right. Andrew is a great person, we all are very lucky having known him. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 22:20
  • Perhaps I think of these differently than some, but when I do, I don’t find myself confused about what seems right, or why.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 3:44

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