none of the mangoes is ripe.

  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Since the word "mangoes" is plural, the correct sentence would be "none of the mangoes are ripe."

    :)
    I don't agree with your reasoning, Eddie. On your logic, we would have to say *"One of the mangoes are ripe" on the gounds that "mangoes" is plural!

    "None" means "not one", and "one" is singular, so I see nothing wrong with "None of the mangoes is ripe".

    All the same, I don't object to "None of the mangoes are ripe", because looking at all the mangoes has a plural feel about it.
     

    duncandhu

    Senior Member
    United Kingdom, English
    Sound shift, you are right to disagree with Eddie's logic (sorry Eddie)

    however, to me "none of the mangoes is ripe" doesn't sound quite right either...

    How about if we express this with numbers:

    There is 1 ripe mango
    There are 0 ripe mangoes.

    Why do we say mangoes when there are zero ripe mangoes? Maybe someone out there knows... (please reply if you do!)

    Thus the "none of the mangoes are ripe" concurs with the "there are 0 ripe mangoes" way of saying it. I stress that the "none of the mangoes is ripe" I don't think is technically wrong, but it does make me want to change it, it sounds not quite right to me.

    Saludos
    Duncan
     

    GuitarEddie

    New Member
    US English
    I don't agree with your reasoning, Eddie. On your logic, we would have to say *"One of the mangoes are ripe" on the gounds that "mangoes" is plural!

    Cheers! I think the use of the word "one" negates the use of the plural in that particular case (after all, you're still talking about a single mango!). Perhaps I should have been more specific in my rationale.

    "None" means "not one", and "one" is singular, so I see nothing wrong with "None of the mangoes is ripe".

    By that logic, then you could say "none of the teachers is men" or "none of the birds is blue," which sound a bit odd. I would say that "none" means "not one of a group," making its use inherently tied to the plural. I think the best way to think of it in modern usage is to take out the noun and see how it sounds. Example:

    "none are ripe"
    "none are men"
    "none are blue"

    I think that sounds better than "none is ripe," "none is men," and "none is blue," although it can be argued otherwise.

    Thanks for the feedback! :)
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't want to labour the point, but:

    My "Harrap's" English-French dictionary gives as an example "None of them is/are known to us", so it clearly feels that both forms are acceptable.

    (This is not a case of my quoting from sources that support my position while I keep quiet about sources that disagree with me ;). I really haven't found a source that says "none + is" is wrong. Dictionaries can get it "wrong", of course, as we in WR know all too well.)
     
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    Onager

    Senior Member
    English, Tagalog
    Well this is what I found here:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/none

    Usage Note: It is widely asserted that none is equivalent to no one, and hence requires a singular verb and singular pronoun: None of the prisoners was given his soup. It is true that none is etymologically derived from the Old English word
    n,
    "one," but the word has been used as both a singular and a plural noun from Old English onward. The plural usage appears in the King James Bible as well as the works of John Dryden and Edmund Burke and is widespread in the works of respectable writers today. Of course, the singular usage is perfectly acceptable. The choice between a singular or plural verb depends on the desired effect. Both options are acceptable in this sentence: None of the conspirators has (or have) been brought to trial. When none is modified by almost, however, it is difficult to avoid treating the word as a plural: Almost none of the officials were (not was) interviewed by the committee. None can only be plural in its use in sentences such as None but his most loyal supporters believe (not believes) his story. See Usage Notes at every, neither, nothing.

    To my ear, "none of the mangoes are ripe" sounds better. Just please don't ask me to explain why.
     
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    GuitarEddie

    New Member
    US English
    Thanks, Onager!
    I'm wondering if there's a regional preference of "is" over "are" or vice versa in conjunction with "none." I seem to have been taught exclusively "none are" (northeastern USA). Hmm...
     

    duncandhu

    Senior Member
    United Kingdom, English
    Thanks, Onager!
    I'm wondering if there's a regional preference of "is" over "are" or vice versa in conjunction with "none." I seem to have been taught exclusively "none are" (northeastern USA). Hmm...
    I was taught in the UK, and I agree with you - "None are" just sounds more correct to me...

    Saludos
    Duncan
     

    workingonit

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I also prefer "none are." (Northern California). The meaning of the sentence is "There are no ripe mangos," and I think the verb is conforming to that meaning. That's just my best guess.
     

    FromPA

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I also prefer "none are." (Northern California). The meaning of the sentence is "There are no ripe mangos," and I think the verb is conforming to that meaning. That's just my best guess.
    I think a better rendering of the meaning of the sentence would be "Not one of the mangos is ripe." The fact is that if you restructure the sentence, you can force it to be either singular or plural. When I learned grammar a long time ago, I was taught that "none" is always singular and that the number of the object of a preposition (mangos) has no bearing on the number of the subject (none). I have since learned that a lot of learned people don't agree with that. Evidently, both options are considered standard usage, so I have betrayed my teachers and stopped making the argument for exclusive use of the singular.
     

    Samdie

    Senior Member
    American-English
    I don't think that it's a question of regional usage but, rater, when (and by whom) one was taught English. As in most things, there are fashions/fads in the teaching of "correct" English. An earlier post pointed out that there have been debates about none=singular/plural for about as long as there has been a language that most of us would recognize as being English. My personal preference is for none=singular but (except, possibly, with close friends) don't suggest "corrections" to those who use the none=plural.
     

    Poca Cosa

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I believe that originally, correct grammar would have it as "None (not one) of the mangoes is ripe." But somewhere down the line, it has become much more common to say "None are...etc."
     
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