How to waste a ton of time with grammatical questions
At the airport this morning, when looking for WiFi to check my email, I got this message on my screen:
"None of your preferred networks are available."
Which led me to click my tongue at the screen. My dad had always enforced a None Is Singular rule in our house growing up, and since he was a teacher and a strict grammarian I followed suit.
In order to vet my judgement, I looked up the word in the dictionary (or, more accurately, my dictionary widget) and found out that according to the Oxford American Dictionary's usage paragraph, 'none' can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on the 'context and emphasis needed.'
Well, that's just no way to please a grammar nerd, we need rules! That's what helps to give order to this chaotic amalgam of a language, and by extension, our lives!
So then I googled the subject. As with every argument under the sun, there are extensive discussions online about whether or not 'none' should be singular or plural. There are posts favoring each side, some informed and reasoned, some angry and vitriolic. I read all of these, all the while knowing that the answer is 'both' but hoping that someone could make a convincing argument one way or another.
And this is why I can't get a smart phone. There are times when internet access is bad, and wasting 20 minutes of daylight on a grammar discussion is one of them. The sun is shining, I need to go outside.
Right after I check my myspace.