None of the Usage Dictionaries Support the Theory That "None" Is Only Singular:

A correspondent writes, apropos an earlier post,

"None" is singular[, as in "]If none of these choices IS accurate.["]

I hear elementary grammatical errors on National Public Radio, and realize it is not the standard setter it thinks it is.... I seldom tune into the conspiracy any more because you seem to have drifted from public issues to personal issues .... Still, I expected these opinions to be expressed correctly. Very disappointing ....

Well, returning to public issues, I should stress that all members of the public have a First Amendment right to be as disappointed as they please. But shifting from sentiment to substance, it seems to me that my correspondent's only legitimate objection is indeed only a "personal issue[]" — the correspondent's esthetic preference. When it comes to claims of objective "error[]" or "correct[ness]," the authorities that strike me as reputable, namely leading dictionaries of usage, take the view that "none" can be either plural or singular.

My favorite, the Merriam Webster Dictionary of English, for instance, reports that, "Clearly, 'none' has been both singular and plural since Old English and still is. The notion that it is singular only is a myth of unknown origin that appears to have arisen late in the 19th century." It buttresses its assertions with quotes from many sources, including the King James Version of the Bible, W.H. Auden, and G.K. Chesterton. Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Garner's A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, and the Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage take the same view.

So even if one takes the view that correct usage is decided by The Authorities rather than by common usage, here the prominent authorities seem to take the view that "none" can be either singular or plural. Before accepting assertions that the plural "none" is "error" or "[in]correct[]," we should ask exactly what authorities outweigh the dictionaries, Auden, and Chesterton. Likewise, before we accept the view that correct usage is decided by Abstract Logic rather than by common usage or authorities, we should ask why the none-as-singular-only view is indeed a logical imperative, as opposed to being an arbitrary assertion.