Singular or Plural Nouns

by Saleem Kashmiri
(Lahore, Pakistan)

1) Is the word NONE to be treated as SINGULAR? If so, why do people say, "NONE of the boys HAVE done their work"?

2) Is the word EVERYBODY singular? If so, why do people say, "EVERYBODY was doing THEIR work"?


These are great questions, actually.

1) The rule regarding the word NONE is the following:

none + singular noun => singular verb

none + plural noun => plural verb

For example:

None of the boys have done their work.

I heard what he said, and none of it is true.

2) The word EVERYBODY is indeed singular.

And in this case, the word THEIR is used with its singular meaning.

You see, THEIR can be used instead of "his or her" to refer to a person whose gender is not mentioned or not known.

For example:

Everybody has to take their bags outside.
(= Everybody has to take his or her bags outside.)

For more info on subject-verb agreements, read the following article: Subject-Verb Agreement

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