No vs. None


We use no immediately before a singular or plural noun.

  • No man is mortal.
  • They have no food and will starve.
  • We have got no plans for the summer.

Before a determiner (e.g. the, this, my) or a personal pronoun, we use none of.

  • We invited several friends. But none of them came.
  • None of the keys would open the door.
  • None of my friends remembered my birthday.

When we use none of with a plural noun or pronoun, the verb can be singular or plural.

  • None of them has come yet. (more formal)
  • None of them have come yet. (more informal)

None can be used alone, without a noun, if the meaning is clear.

  • Is there any beer in the house? No, there is none.

Note that we use neither of, not none of, to talk about two people or things.

  • Neither of my parents lives with me. (NOT None of my parents —)

No/none and not a/any

No can be used instead of not a or not any when we want to emphasise a negative idea.

  • Sorry, I can’t stop. I have got no time. (More emphatic than — I haven’t got any time.)
  • He is no fool. (More emphatic than He is not a fool.)

None of can be used instead of not any of.

  • She has done none of the work I told her to do. (More emphatic than She hasn’t done any of the work —)

After no, countable nouns are usually plural.

  • He has got no children. (More natural than He has got no child.)

But note that we use a singular noun when the sense makes it necessary.

  • He has got no wife. (NOT — no wives.)