ELI5; why is none of something pluralised?


Just wondering if there is a reason why when you have none of something it is pluralised?

For example, I have 1 apple becomes I have no/0 apples.

In: Other

I think that, in the context, it means not a single one of many? If you know of something that’s singular but you don’t have it, then you might say I do not have a/n blank. So basically the context changes how they’re used. I have a 0% interest rate for the first 6 months refers to a single thing. I have no/zero interest in this conversation.

The singular is only used when discussing a single item. The plural is used for every other quantity, whether it’s two apples, 93 trillion apples, 1.5 apples, or zero apples.

In this case the plural is also the collective noun. You’re not really talking about *any* amount of apples but rather the concept of apples (specifically your lack of possession).

Or another way: It’s because what you’re *really* doing is saying in one statement that you do not have each and every apple, so you use the plural.

The singular (generally) refers to a specific apple, whether positive or negative.

“I have no apple” is totally acceptable, but it kinda implies (a tiny bit) that you have a particular apple in mind that you lack. :p

This doesn’t help (are tangents allowed?) but it seems related –

*How many apples do you have?*


*How many apple do you have?*

I guess along the lines of what u/Pegajace was saying, the plural feels more general.

It also depends how the question is aswered. Take this example.

Teacher: do you have an apple?

Kid 1: yes, I have an apple

Teacher: do you have an apple?

Kid 2: no, I have no apple.

if some things exist, generally there are more than one of them, in fact one assumes there are many. So talking about zero of the many is expressed as none of them, or zero of them.