A LAPSE OF GRAMMAR?
SIR,—In his review of the new edition of A Handful of Dust, A. E. Ellis would have us think that Mr. Evelyn Waugh is guilty of a lapse of grammar in his use of none with a plural verb.
However, the SOED gives unreservedly the mean- ing not any as well as not one. Dr. Johnson says 'None seems originally to have signified according to its derivation, not one, and therefore to have had no plural, but it is now used plurally.'
What is good enough for the Doctor and for the SOED ought to be good enough for your reviewer— and also for the pedants at the BBC who give us regularly such absurdities as 'Fifty men went down with the ship and none was saved.'
20 Parks Road, Oxford A. J. CROFT