None of = Used before the demonstratives (this, that), possessives (his, your, my) or pronouns;
None of his colleagues doubt that he is a man of the highest integrity.
A traditional rule of usage says that none must always be used as singular; however, it has been used with both singular and plural verbs by distinguished writers for a long time. When none is in the sense of ‘not any persons or things,’ the plural is more common:
The accident was so terrible that none of the occupants were found to be alive.
None of them claim the responsibility to destroy the evidence.
In formal language, we use none of with a singular verb when it is the subject of the statement. However, in informal styles, we also use plural verbs:
None of that seems to amuse the guests at dinner. (formal)
None of his sons in particular impresses us with his knowledge (formal)
None of these foods are known to be high in antioxidants. (informal)
When none is used to mean ‘not one’ or ‘not any,’ it takes a singular verb:
Of all my subjects, none is more uninteresting than mathematics.
None of our plans works out well in absence of Jack.
We use none of before an uncountable noun phrase to demonstrate a negative expression about every part of something:
None of the information about Pulitzer Prize winners is available on the internet.
None of this seems to amuse the audience.
None of the sugar is left in the jar. (with an uncountable noun or a singular pronoun, use a singular form)
Be Careful! Don’t use a negative word after none of or none:
None of these candidates weren’t called for the interview. √
None of these candidates were called for the interview. ✗
She hadn’t seen us for 20 years, so doesn’t recognise none of us immediately. ✗
She hadn’t seen us for 20 years, so doesn’t recognise any of us immediately. √
Be careful! Don’t use ‘none’ directly before nouns. Instead, use no + noun or none of + noun:
No locals in this village like to mix with tourists. √
None of the locals in this village like to mix with tourists. √
None locals in this village like to mix with tourists. ✗
Hence, we can conclude that none can be used as either a singular or plural; however, it largely depends on what determines its number in the sentence. We usually tend to think of none as meaning not any and will choose a plural verb:
None of the public parks throughout the city allow flying kites since the beginning of this month.
However, when none means not one or when it is with uncountable noun, we use a singular verb:
None of the food tastes good; it seems it was sitting up in the refrigerator for five years.
None of my graduating students in mathematics has/have an uphill task getting a job.
None of the students have submitted their applications so far. (here the possessive pronoun their rules out the possibility of use of the singular verb).
None of our players are as energetic and dynamic as the Baltimore Ravens. (here none is used in specific comparison with a plural noun)
Notice that when we refer to two things or people in a statement, we use neither of in place of none of:
Sarah and I went to the store and none of us bought anything. ✗
Sarah and I went to the store and neither of us bought anything. √