27 August 2013

Grammar check: District of Columbia v. Heller

Footnote one to Justice Scalia's majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), reads as follows:
1There are minor exceptions to all of these prohibitions, none of which is relevant here.
This sounds awkward! It seems like it should read: "There are minor exceptions to all of these prohibitions, none of which are relevant here." None is (or not one)  and none are (or not any) can both be appropriate in certain circumstances. Others suggest that both are appropriate, although the plural sounds more natural.

Rewritten in that context, the footnote would read:
There are minor exceptions to all of these prohibitions, not one of which is relevant here.
Or:
There are minor exceptions to all of these prohibitions, not any of which are relevant here.
Both of these sound awkward.

Justice Scalia is not one to make a grammar mistake, so I go with the presumption that his usage is either correct, or at least preferred. But I'm not really sure why.

Grammar nerds: what say you?
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