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When none means "not one," it takes a singular verb, but it can also take plural. In that case, can I write the following sentence as it is, or should I change it to "remembers"? Are both options grammatically appropriate here?

"You all got drunk, and none of you remember what happened that night?" asked the officer.

  • It can be both singular and plural. The singular is the older form because "none" is an Old English contraction of "ne ane", meaning "not one". In Modern English, however, either a singular or plural is allowed; however, there are some quirky rules such as when it is used in "none of the information", which always takes a singular. Your example is not one of those quirky situations, so "none of you remember/remembers" are both fine. – Nick Nov 3 '17 at 3:40
  • @NicholasCastagnola Yeh, you're, but I think the singular would be slightly more appropriate. – SovereignSun Nov 3 '17 at 3:54
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none of you remember what happened that night.

When "none" is a subject it can occur freely with either singular or plural agreement.

To those who say plural agreement is wrong, consider this:

If there are N people, and none of them could remember what happened, that makes N altogether who could not remember what happened, so the plural None of you remember what happened that night ” should be right.

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First of all your question is little confusing without a proper example.

Simply no. You should use "none" according to context (singular/plural) and ask yourself whether "none" is used for single entity or for multiple entities. for e.g.

=> Here the person is talking to one person.

None of your notes is good enough to copy.

=> Here the person is talking to a bunch of people.

None of you want to play football.

This sentence answers your question very well.

"You all got drunk, and none of you remember what happened that night?" asked the officer.

For further analysis- Go here

  • With both your example either the singular or the plural will be fine. – SovereignSun Nov 3 '17 at 3:58
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I would never use the singular in this construction (none of + noun) — in my variety of English, at least (I'm from the States), it sounds wrong.

'None of your notes is good enough' sounds wrong to me. It would have to be 'None of your notes are', even if you're referring to 'not one'.

So yeah, I would say 'none of you remember', even if I'm talking about 'not one'. I WOULD say 'Not a single ONE of them is present' or something like that, if it's split up into 'not' and 'one'.

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    Oddly enough, to this US English speaker "None of you remembers" sounds OK. I don't know if that's a local dialect thing or not...actually, either "remember" or "remembers" sounds OK to me. – stangdon Nov 2 '17 at 20:36
  • I'm not native but even I hear/heard either singular or plural with "none of" and grammar books tell us that both are possible. – SovereignSun Nov 3 '17 at 4:01
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Well, both are correct and possible. However, in my opinion,the singular sounds better here.

The thing is that the officer is expecting at least one person to remember, but surely he wouldn't mind more of them to remember, but that "at least" is significant, in my opinion.

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    It can be either in his situation, SovereignSun. This is that rule we talked about with "he is none", etc. that "none" can take a singular or plural verb most of the time, but there are exceptions such as when it translates to "none of it", which always takes singular: "none of what you've said makes sense." – Nick Nov 3 '17 at 3:42
  • @NicholasCastagnola I agree. That's why I said thst both are correct and possible. The rest is my own opinion which comes from my personal understanding of the context. – SovereignSun Nov 3 '17 at 3:56

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