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Singular or Plural Verb with None

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Singular or Plural Verb with None

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Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide (2007 edition) says this in Chapter 2:

"
THE SANAM PRONOUNS: Some, Any, None, All, Most
How can you tell if these pronouns are singular or plural? Look at the 'of' construction that usually follows the pronoun.
...
Some of the money WAS stolen from my wallet. (money is singular)
Some of the documents WERE stolen from the bank. (documents is plural)
"

HOWEVER, Kaplan GMAT 800 (Ninth Edition) starts the Sentence Correction chapter with this example:

"As of this morning, none of my friends has been able to solve the puzzle contained in the last week's newspaper."

And the correct answer for this question is (A), meaning the original sentence is correct.

Can someone please explain this contradiction?

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Hi musingmario,

The pronoun "none" can be interpreted in a two different ways: it could mean "not one" (singular), but it can also mean "not any" (plural). The GMAT rarely builds an SC around just one grammar rule (and certainly not around one that is susceptible to "bias" on the part of the reader). Most SCs are based on 2-4 grammar rules (and you don't even need to know all of the rules to get to the correct answer).

In the example that you listed, there isn't anything inherently incorrect about answer A, but if you had listed ALL 5 answer choices, it might have been easier to categorically eliminate the other 4 answers (for other reasons).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

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The GMAT will not test whether none should be singular or plural.

To old-school grammarians, none is a contraction of the words not one:
None of the students is eating the spinach = Not one of the students is eating the spinach.

But new-school grammarians claim that none may serve as a substitute for not any:
None of her friends are coming to the party = Not any of her friends are coming to the party.

Since there is debate, this issue will not be tested.

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GMATGuruNY wrote:
The GMAT will not test whether none should be singular or plural.

To old-school grammarians, none is a contraction of the words not one:
None of the students is eating the spinach = Not one of the students is eating the spinach.

But new-school grammarians claim that none may serve as a substitute for not any:
None of her friends are coming to the party = Not any of her friends are coming to the party.

Since there is debate, this issue will not be tested.
Dear GMATGuru,

Is the following sentence correct?

Any cash is accepted

Any members of the team are accepted in the club. ......I want to convey that numbers of members could join. or could 'any' be used with plural??

Thanks

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Mo2men wrote:
Dear GMATGuru,

Is the following sentence correct?

Any cash is accepted

Any members of the team are accepted in the club. ......I want to convey that numbers of members could join. or could 'any' be used with plural??

Thanks
Any BAG taken on the subway IS subject to search by the police.
Any BAGS taken on the subway ARE subject to search by the police.

In each of these sentences, any is a MODIFIER describing the subject in blue.
In the first sentence, the verb (is) is SINGULAR to match the singular subject in blue.
In the second sentence, the verb (are) is PLURAL to match the plural subject in blue.
any can serve to modify a singular or plural noun.

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Mitch Hunt
Private Tutor for the GMAT and GRE
GMATGuruNY@gmail.com

If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "UPVOTE" icon.

Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.
For more information, please email me at GMATGuruNY@gmail.com.
Student Review #1
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Student Review #3

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