None: Singular or Plural?

I got a question from the Peanut Gallery concerning whether the word “none” takes a singular or plural verb.
As with all technical questions, the answer is: “That depends.”
It depends on whether “none” refers to the whole group of things or whether it means “not one.”
Singular Example:

We wanted to buy an X-Stream pump for that well, but none was available.

Here you can substitute “not one” for none, and it obviously refers to a single pump.

Plural Example:

None of the scenarios modeled in the simulator have a positive cash flow after 5 years.

Here you can substitute “not any,” and the word “scenarios” is obviously plural.

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For those of you in the Houston area, you might want to consider attending an excellent 3-day technical writing workshop put on by Shea Writing and Training Solutions. It’s Feb. 15-17 at the Westlake Club and taught by folks who are experts at oil and gas writing. Register at www.sheaws.com.

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Quote of the Day:
“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

– Henry David Thoreau, American author 1817-1862

2 Responses to “None: Singular or Plural?”

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