Another question of 'was vs were'

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None of us was safe...

None of us were safe...

 

Which is correct? Neither 'sounds' wrong, but one of them must be.

asked Apr 15 '12 at 22:22 Tony Proano Expert

2 answers


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In case of 'none' it depends on the word 'none'.

verb will be according to the noun for which 'none' is used.

eg.

 

I've ordered for milk but none has come yet.

I've ordered for books but none have come yet.

 

It may be a little awkward to some of us specially those we prefer American or colloquial English.

link comment answered Apr 16 '12 at 11:51 Rahul Gupta Expert
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The Oxford Dictionary states:

 

"It is sometimes held that none can only take a singular verb, never a plural verb: none of them is coming tonight rather than none of them are coming tonight. There is little justification, historical or grammatical, for this view. None is descended from Old English nān meaning ‘not one’ and has been used for around a thousand years with both a singular and a plural verb, depending on the context and the emphasis needed."

 

I would say that when the sense is plural none is plural et when the sense is singular none is singular. (Which is pretty much what Lewis said earlier!)

 

And 'none of us was safe' sounds very strange to my BE ears.

link comment edited Jun 06 '12 at 17:46 Ipsy New member

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