Sub/verb agreement


I understand that subjectsand verbs have to agree in number. The problem comes with indefinite pronouns tht can be either sing or plural.


Which verbs would be correct in the following:


A) Any of the bands (plays, play) for private parties.


B) None of us (likes, like) that kind of salad dressing.


Personally, I believe the correct answers are "play" and "like"; but then self-doubt has set in.

asked Jan 19 '14 at 15:50 D New member

When I went to school both of these sentences would have used a singular verb, i..e. "plays" and "likes" because "any" and "none" were considered to be singular subjects in this context, even though they seem to sound better with a plural verb; however, grammar and spelling are changing and either a singular or plural verb could be acceptable now for all I know.

Margo McGeorgeJan 19 '14 at 21:03

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2 answers


Any of the bands plays for private parties.

None of us likes that kind of salad dressing.(Both are acceptable)

link comment edited Jan 19 '14 at 16:38 Sanjay Expert

You have to look at the context to decide if words like any or none are singular or plural. 


You need to decide if your first sentence is talking about one band or multiple bands.  Since you also mention multiple parties, you likely mean multiple bands.


Any of the bands play for private parties.


None gets a little trickier.  Many will argue that none means "not one" and always takes the singular form.  But it can also mean "not any" and takes on a plural context.  Your sentence could go either way.  I like the plural for this sentence:

None of us like that kind of salad dressing.


You could reword the sentence for either case:

We all dislike that kind of salad dressing.

No one here likes that kind of salad dressing. 

link edited Jan 19 '14 at 17:53 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

thank you.

DJan 19 '14 at 18:21

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