"None of the" individuals vs. "No" individuals

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Peaso, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Peaso Member

    Spanish (Spain) - Catalan

    For one chapter of my PhD dissertation, I'm designing a system that generates an automatic natural language description of the main features of a data set. When all individuals of a certain class have the same particularity, I wrote something like "None of the individuals (or dogs, or cars, or houses, or whatever...) are...". Reviewing the document I realised that in some examples I wrote "No individuals..." insted of "None of the individuals".

    Several questions:

    1.- Are these two options correct? Which one is the more usual?
    2.- If both expressions are correct, I can use both of them in a random way. Would it be correct to mix them?
    3.- Is it correct the expression "None of individuals" (without the "the")?
    4.- If I choose the expression "No individuals", how can I use a pronoun in sentences like "All individuals are X and none of them are Y"?

    Thank you in advance,
  2. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    We need the full context, meaning full sentences, in order to advise you properly.
    In the absence of context, to answer (1) and (2) above: In my view neither of your options is correct. The word 'none' is a shortened way of saying 'not one', so that has to be followed by 'is', although it may seem odd that a plural noun (e.g. none of the dogs ...) has to be followed by the singular verb form 'is' - 'none of the dogs is...'.
    (3) Is is not correct to say 'none of individuals'.
    (4) Context needed. In the case of "All individuals are X and none of them:tick: are:cross: Y" the correct form is "All individuals are X and none of them is Y".
  3. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Sorry, but I disagree with this. None can mean "not one" but it also can mean "not any," so either is or are can be correct, depending on the intended meaning. My source, in case you'd like one, is Garner's Modern American Usage.

    Both "None of the individuals" and "no individuals" are perfectly acceptable. They have, at least to my ear, a very slight difference in emphasis in that "the individuals" implies that at some point prior to using this phrase, you've identified who or what these individuals are. But they can in many cased be interchangeable.

    I do agree that more context would be very helpful, though.

    Oh, and "none of individuals" is not correct, at least not in any context that I can think of.
  4. Peaso Member

    Spanish (Spain) - Catalan
    Thank you very much for your responses. Let me begin with some context:

    The tool I'm designing is analysing a data set of objects that are classified in some groups (classes). I get the main features of each class according to the frequencies inside it ("in class 1, none of the individuals is big") and by comparing those frequencies with the rest of classes ("the proportion of big individuals in class 1 is greater than in the population").

    My conclusions:

    - Once thought the sentences in more detail, I realise that when refering to a negative sentence (none of the individuals...), the singular form of the verb sounds better for me ("none of the individuals is big" instead of "none of the individuals are big"). In Spanish (I know it's a bad practice to compare languages) occurs the same.
    - This negative expression (none of the individuals) is perfectly interchangeable with the expression "no individuals" in my context, but I think I'm not going to use it because of the inability of using the pronoum "them".
    - The expression "none of individuals" is absolutely wrong.

    Again, thank you both! (is this sentence right? ;-) )

Share This Page