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‘Two rules are at play when it comes to none’: A corpus-based analysis of singular versus plural none: Most grammar books say that the number of the indefinite pronoun none depends on formality level; corpus findings show otherwise

  • Sugene Kim

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This paper identifies discrepancies between prescriptive grammar rules concerning the number of the indefinite pronoun none and the actual use of this pronoun in modern academic English as shown in the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE) and Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP). Whereas prescriptive rules state that the number of none is determined by its referent or by the user's desired effect, the analyses of the MICASE and MICUSP search results suggest that, regardless of the modality of discourse, (1) the number of none with an anaphoric referent is determined by the number of its referent and (2) the principle of proximity applies without exception when none is used as part of a ‘none of + singular noun/pronoun’ phrase and applies frequently but not always when followed by an ‘of + plural noun/pronoun’ phrase.

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‘Two rules are at play when it comes to none’: A corpus-based analysis of singular versus plural none: Most grammar books say that the number of the indefinite pronoun none depends on formality level; corpus findings show otherwise

  • Sugene Kim

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