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none (nŭn)
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pron.
1. No one; not one; nobody: None dared to do it.
2. Not any: None of my classmates survived the war.
3. No part; not any: none of your business.
adv.
1. Not at all: He is none too ill.
2. In no way: The jeans looked none the better for having been washed.

[Middle English, from Old English nān : ne, no, not; see ne in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + ān, one; see oi-no- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

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 ān, "one," but the word has been used as both a singular and a plural since the ninth century. The plural usage appears in the King James Bible ("All the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold ... none were of silver") as well as the works of canonical writers like Shakespeare, John Dryden, and Edmund Burke. It is widespread in the works of respectable writers today. Of course, the singular usage is perfectly acceptable. Choosing between singular or plural is thus more of a stylistic matter than a grammatical one. 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 is most often treated as 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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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