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Write the Right Word: Everyone, Anyone, Someone, No One

What do “everyone,” “anyone,” “someone” and “no one” have in common? They all require singular verbs even though they may appear to refer to more than one person.

A big clue is the “one.” That tells you they refer to one person. So you would say: “Everyone wants his or her day to go smoothly.” “Anyone who says this sweater is green is colorblind!” “Someone who enjoys swimming as much as you do should live near a lake.” “No one goes to that store anymore.”

Other words or phrases that may look as though they refer to more than one person or thing but take singular verbs include anybody, anything, everybody, everything, nobody, something, many a, either and more than one. For example: “Either is going to stay home tonight.” “Many a child has wished he or she had a horse.”

The word “none” usually fits into this category. It generally means no single one. In that sense, it takes singular verbs and pronouns. “None of these movies appeals to me.”

However, “none” requires a plural verb if you are referring to no two or no amount. “None of the engineers agree on how to fix the problem.” “None of the dues have been paid.”

, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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