The hair between the shoulder blades of my pet, Peeve, stiffened and he emitted a low growl. No less than The New York Times published this line: “None of the protesters were armed.”
See why Peeve deserves a treat? “None” is a contraction of “no one.” It therefore always takes the singular form of any verb, especially “to be.” Ditto “neither” and “either.” “Neither of the doctors was familiar with such symptoms.” “Either donut is fine.” Say or write “neither of the doctors were familiar…” and you’ll reveal yourself to be a thoughtless lummox stampeded by the herd into using our beautiful language incorrectly. Likewise, if you answer the question, “How are you?” with “Good.” The correct answer is “well” or “fine,” unless you feel like I do, in which case, the correct response is, “How do you think I am? I’m a terminally ill 62 year-old insomniac who was in lousy shape to begin with.” Although that does end the sentence with a preposition.