Writing an essay about some ancient weight-like objects, I found myself at something of a loss. I wrote the passage ..."none of them has any mark which might relate them to any particular period”.... but it didn’t sound right, and I changed the second “them” to “it”. Now I am wondering whether I should alter this to “none of them have any marks which might relate them to any particular period”. But this doesn’t sound quite right --- and I think it alters the meaning slightly, too, lumping them all together. Since, as I understand, “none” derives from “not one” or “no one”, I’m thinking of sticking with the singular throughout --- but being as ignorant of the rules of grammar (if there are any) as I am (or was, B.W.*) of etymology, I’d like to hear from the mavens. Is “none of them have” acceptable currency? What about “none of them have been examined” vs. “none of them has been examined”? Despite “no one”, I’d go instinctively for “have”, not “has”, in this case.
(I know this isn’t etymology, and I shan’t feel bad if my posting is expunged, or ignored. It’s not obscenity either, but I can fix that)
* B.W. = before wordorigins.org