English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it acceptable to say "No users have configured this setting"? It is an error message. It sounds odd to me. "None of the users have configured this setting" seems OK. Please provide your advice.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The first would be the more usual.

We might favour the second, if we cared about a particular subset of users. E.g. if users were split into groups, and we were only talking about a particular group, then it might be strictly-speaking incorrect to say "no users have configured this setting" because some in another group might have, while "none of the users have configured this setting" would mean no user in the set we care about right now have.

That said, if your error message is relating to the fact that a setting has not been configured as a global aspect of the system, then you care about it not being set rather than the fact that this would involve a user. If this is your case then "This setting has not been configured" might be better.

share|improve this answer
Hi Jon, thanks for the answer. From your point 'No users' is correct in my case. – user55938 Feb 6 '14 at 10:23
@user55938 it is correct. And even if not, it's so commonly used (no doubt in part for brevity) that using the second just to be correct would be atypical and possibly lead to confusion among your users. If you want to be fully certain of being gramatically correct, you can always resort to "this setting has not been configured by any user" :) – jwenting Feb 6 '14 at 10:28

The first one seems correct and even more idiomatic to me.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.