none of them are/is

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by JotaI, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. JotaI Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    Does anyone know whether both sentences are correct?

    1.- None of them are from Germany
    2.- None of them is from Germany

    Correct anything you think is wrong, please. Thank yoy very much indeed.
  2. Anjie

    Anjie Senior Member

    None of them ARE from Germany. Because them is plural you have to use are.
  3. Sines Senior Member

    Galicia, España
    Español (España)
    None of them are...
  4. JotaI Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    So the rule used in Spanish doesn't work in English. Don't you think "none" is the subject of this sentence? If it were so, I should write none (of them) is?
    Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
    Thanks a lot.
  5. Anjie

    Anjie Senior Member

    When you say none of them you are talking about a group of people so it would be none of them are, plural. You have to conjugate the pronouns with the verb. Who are you talking about? Them. So they subject is Them.

    I am
    She/He is
    They are

    In school they taught us to ask the question presceding your sentence to figure it out for example:

    Are they from Germany?
    None of them are from Germany.

    Hope this helped, maybe someone else can give a clearer explanation.
  6. ORL Senior Member

    I´ve been taught to use it as singular, like "anyone", "everybody", etc.
    This article seems to confirm that the verb should be singular:

    Source: Yahoo language forum:

    "None of them is" or "None of them are"?
    Which phrase is correct? 10 points for the first correct answer!

    Hint: Most people get this one wrong.

    "None" means "not one." Re-word the phrase again, this time using "not one" instead of "none."

    Not one of them is....
    Not one of them are...

    The first is correct. We're not talking about "them," we're talking about "not one" of them. It's singular. so "Not one of them is" is the correct phrase.

    Source: Infoplease, on-line dictionary


    Pronunciation: (nun), [key]
    1. no one; not one: None of the members is going.
    2. not any, as of something indicated: None of the pie is left. That is none of your business.
    3. no part; nothing: I'll have none of your backtalk!
    4. (used with a pl. v.) no or not any persons or things: I left three pies on the table and now there are none. None were left when I came.

    to no extent; in no way; not at all: The supply is none too great.

    Archaic.not any; no (usually used only before a vowel or h): Thou shalt have none other gods but me.
  7. Anjie

    Anjie Senior Member

    It probably can be used but for some reason, "none of them is" doesn't sound quite right to me and most native english speakers would not use the phrase, "None of them is from Germany". Maybe both are correct.
  8. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    I woulda thunk that "none" by itself is singular. However, when used to modify another subject, then the subject is the one that determines singularity or plurality. So "them" is modified by "none".
    But in Texas we woulda skipped the whole she-bang with the ever-increasingly-popular "none of them ain't German, ya hear?"
    And then go and wrestle a cow...
    Well, not really...
  9. greenpoison Member

    I think that is ARE because it means

    Not any of the people are from germany

    hahaha its funny because it gets over analized and makes no sense at all.
  10. Lori15 Senior Member

    English, England
    Hi Jotai

    When none, neither, either and any are followed by of + plural noun/pronoun they are normally used with singular verbs in formal British style - None of them is from Germany is the correct term and will be found in formal writing in Britain. However 'none of them 'are' is commonly seen and heard in informal writing and speech. I always use the singular verb form in academic writing, articles, reports etc.
    Hope this helps
  11. JotaI Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain
    Thank you very much to everyone. I did not think my question would cause such an interesting discussion. I wondered whether both constructions are correct because I read both several times. In Spanish "none=not one" is the subject so the sentence is "ninguno de ellos es alemán", but quite often Spanish people make a mistake when traslating into English the sentence, as it is written in Spanish.

    By the way, I will ask another question:
    When you are talking about a word, i.e. table, its genre is female (at least in Spanish) and its ??? is singular. Which is the property that expresses whether a word is singular or plural?

    Thanks very much indeed again. I'm learning very much.
  12. Snita Senior Member

    Spanish Spain
  13. Ivy29 Banned

    Either one is CORRECT. AFTER NONE OF/neither of/either of/+plural noun phrase you can use singular/plural verb.

  14. claudine2006

    claudine2006 Senior Member

    Andalucía Spain
    Italy Italian
    When I first read the question I was sure the correct answer was: "None of them is" because the subject is "None" (singular).
  15. Ivy29 Banned

    Singular or PLURAL can be used. For sure.

  16. 50something

    50something Senior Member

    JotaI, if I understood your question correctly, in spanish it is very common to put an "S" at the end of a word to convert it into plural. Easy as that.

    Basically, it is similar in English, though there may be more exceptions than in Spanish, such as foot or teeth for instance.

  17. anderfo New Member

    Norway - norwegian
    sorry to bump this old thread.

    consider this:
    we/you/they > 1 (plural)
    he/she/it = 1 (singular)
    none/not one/nobody = 0 (nothing)

    so i'd suggest the nothing-form of the verb - which is usually very similar to the singular :)
    anyway I think the native english guy here has the right answer, at least he would know..
  18. englishinmadrid Banned

    England - English
    The true answer is both are correct in the right context.

    I checked in Practical English Usage (Michael Swan) which is usually an excellent reference, but in this case I disagree with Mr Swan's answer - at best it is incomplete. There he says that is more formal than none...are, giving the examples:

    1. None of my friends is interested.
    2. None of my friends are interested.

    In my opinion neither is more or less formal, and the first example simply sounds weird to me. However, "None of my friends is the president of the USA" is perfectly ok.

    As already indicated in this thread, it depends on whether the implied meaning is singular or plural. It becomes clearer with a little more investigation...


    None of this is your fault. (this: the situation)
    There are a lot of problems, but none of them are your fault. (them: problems)
    There are a lot of problems, in fact it's a disaster, but none of it is your fault. (it: the disaster)

    Q: How many apples are there? A: There are none. There are no apples.
    Q: How much water is there? A: There is none. There is no water.

    So, in general use none...are for countable and plural nouns, and for uncountable nouns.

    In addition, it becomes clear that you can use when you want to indicate that the expected quantity is one:
    e.g. None of these solutions is the right one.
    -> None of these solutions is correct.
    -> None of them is correct.

    None of these women is my wife. (I am looking for my wife and have only one.) -> None of them is my wife.

    None of these children is my son. (I am looking for my son and have only one.) ->None of them is my son.

    None of these children are my sons. (I am looking for my sons and have two or more.) -> None of them are my sons.

    Well, at least I have it clear in my own head now :)

    Andy in Madrid
  19. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  20. borz Senior Member

    The Note in Longman Dictionary says:

    none, neither Use none to talk about a group of three or more things or people • None of my friends came. To talk about two things or people, use neither • Neither of my parents wanted me to marry him.

    Moderation Note: To read more follow the link
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2009
  21. White Ellen Poe New Member

    As a Chinese we have tests such as TOFEL so I think I'm clear with this topic.
    None of them are(is) over 14.
    Both are right but in TOFEL(So Americans..) it's better to use "ARE".
    However you should notice something for in some special conditions(MY English...)such as "None of them is my brother." You could see that "brother" means one person here...
    So wish to be some help for you.
  22. gringuitoloco Senior Member

    American (awesome) English
    subject is 3rd person singular, therefore the verb must also be in the third person singular.
    None of them is. None is the subject. Is is the verb. Them is the object of a preposition, of, and should not be used when determining the verb conjugation.
  23. White Ellen Poe New Member

    Gee. I see. So it isn't that hard for we only need to notice the subject in the sentence, huh?
  24. NSRrockit New Member

    Español (Argentina)
    The correct form depends on the context: if the subject is in singular mode, none is singular too. Otherwise, if it's plural, none is plural too. Example: None of THEM are tall. Almost none of the children were well-behaved. :)

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