Neither vs. None

Generally, these two words have many similarities and slight differences. Now if you are eager to know more about them, click here!

What Are Their Main Differences?

The main difference between these two terms is their meanings. 'Neither' refers to not one out of the two in a group, while 'none' refers to not even one in a group of more than two things.

Differences

What They Mean

  • 'Neither':

means not one of the two options. In fact, 'neither' has different meanings and it can be used in different situations because it has different grammatical functions, but in general, the meaning is none out of a group of two.

Neither of them knew the answer. Neither Pam nor Jake.

"Which car do you buy the blue one or the red one?" "Neither is my favorite."

  • 'None':

means not any of the options (more than two options). In fact, it is obvious that there are more than two options in a group, and using 'none' means we are not referring to even one of them.

None of his friends knew Sara. She was a total stranger.

"What would you have, a bowl of soup, French fries, or steaks?" "None are my favorites; I would like to have some salad."

Are They Used With Singular or Plural Verbs?

  • 'Neither':

(as the subject) is always used with a singular verb. However, sometimes in daily spoken English, you might hear 'neither' used with plural verbs, but it is technically wrong and the correct form is to use a singular verb with 'neither'.

Neither woman is accustomed to being kept waiting.

Neither boy was tall.

  • 'None':

(as the subject) can be used with either singular or plural verbs, based on things that it is referring to. We mean whether to use singular or plural verbs with 'none' rely on our purpose when we are talking if we are referring to more than one we have to use plural verbs and if we are talking about one individual it is better to use a singular _verb__.

"How many soldiers are killed?" "None are killed."

"How much soup is left?" "None is left."

Grammatical Functions

  • 'Neither':
  1. as determiner
  2. as pronoun
  3. as adverb
  4. as conjunction

'Neither' as a determiner is used before singular countable nouns to define them. As a pronoun, it is used alone with no nouns after it, so it is used directly before the verb. 'Neither' as an adverb is used in sentences to agree on a negative statement however, it is used with affirmative verbs but it is a negative marker by itself. As a conjunction, it is usually followed by 'nor' and it is used to connect two clauses.

Neither theory is too difficult for the average person to understand. → determiner

Neither of the enormous crabs moved across the ocean floor in search of food. → pronouns

I didn't see a knight in the movie neither did Alan. → adverb

The sun cannot be vanished behind the clouds neither in California nor in Arizona. → conjunction

  • 'None':
  1. as a pronoun

As you know pronouns are used alone before verbs. It means they are not followed by any nouns. Since 'none' is used as a pronoun it is not followed directly by nouns.

None could predict the winner of the Superbowl.

None were accepted in university.

With the pronoun, 'none' we are allowed to use both singular or plural nouns but keep in mind that using a singular verb is more formal and safer to use in writings. Remember using the plural form of the verb which is by the way an informal way of talking is more common to be used in American English.

None of us was waiting for John to arrive except Rachel.

Similarities

Neither of and None of

As it was discussed pronouns cannot be used before nouns, so what if we want to use them before nouns, noun phrases, or pronouns? here is the tip; add the term 'of' to them so that they can be added to words other than verbs.

  • 'Neither of'

is used before pronouns and noun phrases.

Neither of their new policies helped decline the inflation.

Neither of them is kind.

  • 'None of':

is used before pronouns, noun phrases, and nouns (without determiner).

None of them accept their mistakes.

None of the teachers are expert enough.

Beware!

'None' cannot be followed immediately by a noun.

None of the children washed their hands. (Not "None children washed their hands.")

Affirmative Verb but Negative Meaning

  • 'Neither' and 'none':

Both 'neither' and 'none' are followed by affirmative verbs, but the whole statement conveys a negative meaning. This is because 'neither' and 'none' both are negative markers so they themselves change the meaning of a sentence to negative and using a negative verb with them would make a double negative that is technically wrong in English

Neither of the shirts is fit. (Not "Neither of the shirts is not fit.")

None of the shirts are fit. (Not "None of the shirts are not fit.")

What about Negative Verbs?

  • 'Any':

Use 'any' instead of 'none' in negative sentences. 'Any' in negative sentences is followed by plural countable nouns. 'Any' can be used with both singular and plural verbs.

They didn't find any villains who could be capable of killing the innocent child.

I don’t know any of them. (Not "I don’t know none of them.")

  • 'Either':

Use 'either' instead of 'neither' in negative sentences. The rules are the same. We use singular countable nouns after 'either' and it is followed by a singular verb in standard English.

I don’t like either. (Not I don’t like neither.)

I couldn't choose between either cat.

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