Do we use a plural or a singular verb after "none of the books"?
I nearly forgot about this ‘zombie rule’ in English until this question cropped up.
“None” can be singular or plural — yet many people believe it can only be singular.
Professional editor’s protip follows:—
“None” is singular (is):—
Example:— None of the water is polluted.
— (Not one & a mass noun)
“None” is plural (are):—
Example:— I talked to the girls, and none of them are coming to the party.
Most usually, you will be reprimanded for using “none” with ‘are’ — but don’t be afraid to use ‘are’ if your sentence calls for it.
none = NOT ONE.
Not one is coming.
None of the solutions IS acceptable.
By one reading, none means not one.
Or not one among many.
E Pluribus, Pluribum?
That said, our Limey cousins on occasion further define entities as effectively multiple individuals of which they are assumed to be comprised.
As in, “The company have decided to reorganize,” thereby excruciatingly, prissily inclusive.
But over here, too, prissy days are ahead: Labeling a restroom merely Ladies will garner not just a request for this week’s 52 additional mandatory orientational pronouns, but a cash award to soothe offended parties.
Dispassionate discussions such as these may already be legislated hate speech.
Get out your checkbooks.