Agreement with None

When it comes to subject-verb agreement the word none is special… like a mildly irritating snowflake. Here's why: sometimes it uses a singular verb; other times, it uses a plural verb.

 

Now, we know what you're thinking. "Gee, thanks, Shmoop. That's really helpful."

We feel your pain. And your sarcasm. So keep these two ideas in mind:
- When none means no one or not one, use the singular form of the verb.
- When none means not any or suggests more than one thing or person, use the plural form of the verb.

 

Examples

"None of those restaurants sound good for dinner. They all have terrible Yelp ratings."

In this sentence, the subject none means not any, so the plural verb sound is a safe choice. Too bad we can't say the same for any of those questionable eateries.

"Sorry. None of them is coming to your one-man show."

In this case, none means not one, so the correct verb is the singular form.

"None are obedient because they're all racing around the park."

We don't know whether this sentence is about dogs or kindergartners, but we do know that in this case none is clearly referring to more than one thing or person, so we need to use the plural form of the verb.