A front-page story in The New York Times on Sunday included this sentence:
Somehow, none of the Marines were hit in the secondary ambush.
I got stuck on “none.” I expected “was” to follow, as in “not one Marine was hit.”
Here’s what the AP Stylebook advises:
It usually means no single one. When used in this sense, it always takes singular verbs and nouns: None of the seats was in its right place. Use a plural verb only if the sense is no two or no amount: None of the consultants agree on the same approach.
In other words, it depends. One solution to this problem is to dodge the issue and rewrite the sentence:
Somehow, no Marines were hit in the secondary ambush.
Can we all agree on that?