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None of us: plural or singular?


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Is 'None of us' plural or singular? Should we say 'none of us needs a car' or 'none of us need a car'? I suspect it is singular.

Actually "none of us" is plural.  The confusion arises because the word "none" can mean either "not one"  -- which is singular -- or "not any" which is plural. 

In the example you gave it should be "None of us need a car."  That's because the "none" refers to "not any,"  as in "not any of us"  which is a plural entity.  Just as you would say "None of the pedestrians need a car,"  those same pedestrians speaking for themselves would say "None of us need a car."

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That makes total sense LauraM. Do you have a source? Many thanks

Yes, this topic has had a lot of discussion on the Internet.  Here are just a few sources.  There are lots of others.  I found these interesting as they also provide some background info. 

http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/g11.html

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_none_singular_or_plural

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/grammar/is-none-singular-or-plural

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  • 1 month later...

I believe it is singular, because you are talking about the one group of "us". You are saying that there are not any people in the group but you are still referring to the single group, therefor making it singular.

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I believe it is singular, because you are talking about the one group of "us". You are saying that there are not any people in the group but you are still referring to the single group, therefor making it singular.

Actually, "none of us" is plural as typically it's the equivalent of saying "we" which is plural.  But on the other hand "none" by itself can be plural or singular depending on the context.

This particular reference sheds some light on the use of "none" as plural or singular. 

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_none_singular_or_plural

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