As a copy editor, one of the most common grammar mistakes I come across is the incorrect usage of verb agreement when it comes to the word « none. »
« None » is a tricky word because it can be both singular and plural, depending on the context in which it is used. This confusion often leads to writers making mistakes when it comes to verb agreement.
When « none » is used as a singular pronoun, it should be treated as a singular noun, and the verb used should match accordingly. For example:
– None of the cake has been eaten.
– None of the water was left in the glass.
In these examples, the verb « has been » and « was » are singular because « none » is being used as a singular pronoun to refer to a single object.
On the other hand, when « none » is used as a plural pronoun, it should be treated as a plural noun, and the verb used should match accordingly. For example:
– None of the students have arrived yet.
– None of the books were on the shelf.
In these examples, the verbs « have arrived » and « were » are plural because « none » is referring to multiple objects or people.
It`s important to note that « none » can also be used as an adverb, in which case it doesn`t affect verb agreement. Instead, the verb agreement is based on the subject of the sentence. For example:
– She ate none of the cake.
– He drank none of the wine.
In these examples, the verbs « ate » and « drank » are singular because the subject of the sentence (she and he) is singular.
In summary, when using « none » in a sentence, it`s important to consider whether it is serving as a singular or plural pronoun, or as an adverb. This will determine the correct verb agreement to use in the sentence. Making sure you use the correct verb agreement will help your writing sound more polished and professional, and will prevent any confusion for your readers.