Which one is right? "None were hurt" or "None was hurt" ?

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  1. profile image0
    L a d y f a c eposted 12 years ago

    Which one is right? "None were hurt" or "None was hurt" ?

    The statement was "None were hurt".

    Someone said that the word "none" is a portmanteau of "no" and "one"; and that since you wouldn't say "no one were hurt", you shouldn't say "None were hurt". Apparently it should be "None was hurt."

    ? Is this true?

  2. Jed Fisher profile image71
    Jed Fisherposted 12 years ago

    It depends on the context of the rest of the article or story or academic paper that surrounds it, as well as the intended reading audience. My American ears are irritated by BBC verb conjugation, saying the "mob were" and the like, the way fingernails run across a chalkbaord would bother me. But  that's their rules and that's how they say it so I'll just have to put up with it, but I won't treat a singular noun composed of several individuals as a plural noun. To answer you question, in standard American business English, "none" is treated as a quantity, a synonym for "zero" and therefore "was" is the correct verb choice. But the BBC would say "None were hurt" and they would be right, in their world.

  3. WoodsmensPost profile image64
    WoodsmensPostposted 12 years ago

    Remember thats the case unless there is an exception (complicated language saying for not always the case)

    depends if you mean "nobody was hurt" is more correct than "none was hurt" otherwise "none were hurt" is correct

    typical mis spelling is "noone was hurt" or "knowone was hurt"

    also "The Nun was hurt" refers to a Nun in the religious sense

    I tried not to confuse what you "know" with "no" proper answer
    its hard if I only "knew" or had "known" what the "new" sentence you were trying to create was or wasn't
    English can be confusing.

  4. Mark Ewbie profile image81
    Mark Ewbieposted 12 years ago

    I quite often get stuck on a phrase like that.  My usual method of dealing with it is to rephrase it in a way that I know is correct using perhaps a completely different expression.  It's cheating maybe, but solves the problem quickly.

  5. Merlin Fraser profile image60
    Merlin Fraserposted 12 years ago

    I love Jed's answer, but surely  "standard American business English" is an Oxymoron.....

    The language is afterall  English and I agree with Jed that in the past the BBC were supposedly the guardian's of the spoken word. 

    However, with the rapid expansion of the US interprepation of our language, as spoken in the media, together with a dramatic down  turn in our educational system and complete lack of educated editorial control within the BBC they are more likely to say:

    " Like none were hurt, you know what I mean Man ?"

  6. MickS profile image60
    MickSposted 12 years ago

    The use of none implies more than one, so, none were hurt, this is easy to demonstrate:
    None of the spectators were hurt.
    We could't have:
    None of the spectator were hurt.
    Instead, we would use:
    The spectator was not hurt.

  7. cathylynn99 profile image77
    cathylynn99posted 12 years ago

    depends on what you mean, e.g.,

    None (of it) was hurt.

    None (of them) were hurt.

    Fowlers Modern English Usage says that "none" is NOT a shortening of no one, but a regular descendant of "nan" which meant "not one" or "none."  Since the time of King Alfred, the verb following "none" has been governed by the surrounding words or notional sense.

    "...none of these people was very interesting." is correct, as is, "I have seen ... many ... gardens, but none have delighted me as much as hers."

  8. Haunty profile image78
    Hauntyposted 12 years ago

    In my understanding "none" means "not one person or thing" and is short for "not one of a certain group of more." Therefore I should say "none" is always singular and "none were..." is totally incorrect. However, this fact is not really important, because the nature of the situations in which this word is used is such that the use of the plural doesn't cause any difference in meaning and in British English it is, in fact, not uncommon to treat "none" as plural as in the sentence "None of these pens work." My take.

  9. Lucky Cats profile image83
    Lucky Catsposted 12 years ago

    None were hurt.  This is the correct and proper usage.

  10. s.carver profile image72
    s.carverposted 12 years ago

    None was hurt, singular.
    No ONE was hurt, as you say.

  11. Specialist5 profile image68
    Specialist5posted 10 years ago

    "When certain indefinite pronouns (all, none, any, some, more, most) . . . are used as subjects, you may have to look at an intervening phrase or clause to determine whether the verb should be singlular or plural.

    All, none, any, some, more and most may be singular or plural, depending on the noun that they refer to.  (The noun often occurs in an 'of' phrase that follows.)

    In formal usage, none is still considered a singular pronoun.  In general usage, however, none is considered singular or plural, depending on the number of the noun to which it refers.  No one or not one is often used in place of none to stress the singular idea.

    None of the merchandise was stolen.
    None of the packages were properly wrapped.
    None were injured.  (Meaning none of the passengers.)
    Not one of the associates has a good word to say about the managing partner."

    The Gregg Reference Manual, Tenth Edition.

    When writing, if I can say not one, I would normally use was--not one of the passengers was injured.  Was is singular.  Here we're talking about the condition of each "individual" passenger. If you want to group the passengers, you would say "all."  All of the passengers were injured.  Were is plural. This would solve the singular or plural question and make it easy to select was or were.

    So, it would seem that it could be either depending on the usage or whose English you're speaking.  I vote was.

  12. NatashaL profile image73
    NatashaLposted 6 years ago

    According to Dr. Jim Chapman, author of the A Beka English curriculum (and my English professor), the words some, none, any, all, and most can be singular or plural depending on what they modify.

    In your example, I'm guessing that the statement is referring to people.  Since the statement refers to more than one person, the correct statement would be, "None were hurt."

    If, conversely, you are referring to one person/item, or something that can't be counted, use the singular. 

    "None of the cake was left after the birthday party." 
    "None of the fabric in the store suits my needs."  (Fabric can't be counted.)
    "None of the meat in the flyer was available."  (Again, the general term _meat_ can't be counted.)
    "None of my homework is done."   (The general term _homework_ can't be counted.)

    "None of the materials in the store suit my needs."  (Materials can be counted.)
    "None of the steaks in the flyer were available."  (Steaks, a more specific term, can be counted.)
    "None of my assignments are done."  (Again, assignments can be counted.)

    Hope that helps.

  13. Sean Dragon profile image74
    Sean Dragonposted 5 years ago

    Now is "None were hurt". But when we all became One it will be "None was hurt."

  14. profile image0
    S Mareeposted 5 years ago

    "None were hurt" is proper because it corresponds to "they were hurt".
    One would also say "Maggie and Jiggs were hurt".

    For the singular:  "One was hurt", or, "Maggie was hurt".

    "None" is plural.  It is one of those odd English words with a complex dichotomy.  While "no one was hurt" is acceptable, the contraction has changed meaning. 

    When things like this make my head spin I take assurance that somewhere in the world, English instructors are still hard at Jonathon Swift's dream of making English ascertainable, formulated, and disciplined. 

    Alas, English will likely not, nor ever be, corseted into a Latin-like structure.  English is like a meandering river; ever shifting, flooding, and trickling according to current usage.

    P. S.  Punctuation is my personal bugaboo.  I welcome any help in editing my writing.

  15. Sila Ozgoren profile image82
    Sila Ozgorenposted 4 years ago

    It is a versatile word. It depends on subjects used in given sentence.

  16. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
    Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years ago

    None refers to not one of the many.
    You would not say, "One of them were hurt."

    Therefore: was is correct.

    One of them was hurt.
    Not one of them was hurt.
    N'one of them was hurt.

  17. profile image58
    Eidenburgposted 4 years ago

    Thank you all guys for your great explanation and argument.


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