None of the diplomats at the conference was able either to comprehend or solve the problem.

I have some doubt about this sentence.

a) I think it should be the conference was able to either.

b) If we take "able either to" as it is, then there should be "to solve" instead of "solve".

c) As here we are talking about more than one diplomats and None specifies here Not any, it should be were.

Thank you

2 Answers 2


a) I think you can either say "to either comprehend or solve" or "either to comprehend or to solve", without any difference in meaning.

b) You are right.

c) When none is the subject of a sentence, you can use either a singular verb or a plural verb. So you can use either was or were.


a) Both should be OK, but I prefer your choice the conference was able to either because then you can easily see the phrase either to comprehend or solve the problem.

b) To me that to seems redundant. I would leave it out. But for emphasis or to increase the word count you could leave it in.

c) This is a different question, none inferring singular or plural. You might search similar questions on ELL, for example Should I use the plural, or the singular, with “none”?

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