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Brain is singular and Brains is plural.

If I talk about one person's brain , I use singular and for more than person's brain I use the plural,righ?

For example,

1.Use your brain.

2.He killed people and ate their brains.

So, in these two cases, we mean the organ inside our skull and the organs can be counted- so we should use singular/plural numbers.

But when we say "Beauty with Brains", obviously we do not mean a lady with more than one of that organ , we mean "intelligence" by "brain" here,right, and "intelligence" cannot be counted.

Now,here is the problem that encountered : "We need to put our brain to work to make sure it stays fit for long."

Should not this be brains and not brain ? Because we are talking about our brain that is the brains of more than one people , i.e., more than one of that organ,so should be in plural number. And even if we are trying to mean 'intelligence' then also we should use the word 'brains' no? So,either way it should have been 'brains'. "Brain" is wrong.

  • It's quite common to hear "we" followed by a singular. We need to get plenty of cardio exercise to keep our heart healthy. It's not ungrammatical, and "we" there is understood to mean "each of us" or "everyone". You will also hear the plural there too, "...to keep our hearts healthy". Grammatical "rules" are simply descriptions of the speech behaviors of the speaking population as a whole and of identifiable groups within that population. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 24 '16 at 15:49
  • The other jogger was shot in the head and probably died instantly because his brains were all over the grass. A single individual can have brains or a brain. There's more about this on ELU. – FumbleFingers Nov 24 '16 at 18:37
  • @FumbleFingers: His brain got smashed,may be in pieces , scattered around-so no longer a whole organ.Not countable anymore in such scenario. Thanks for the link. – user118494 Nov 24 '16 at 20:53
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    Have a look at this link - scroll down to the heading "How can something be BOTH a COUNT NOUN and a MASS NOUN?" – Lawrence Jan 24 '17 at 1:35
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Your assertions in the first part of your question are correct - we use the word 'brain' both to describe the organ inside our heads, and as a synonym for intelligence. So to quote your examples:

  • Use your brain.
  • He killed people and ate their brains.

Both refer to the physical organ, in singular and plural form, respectively.

  • "Beauty with brains"

In this case, 'brains' is a synonym for intelligence, so again you are correct.

Now,here is the problem that encountered : "We need to put our brain to work to make sure it stays fit for long."

Should not this be brains and not brain ? Because we are talking about our brain that is the brains of more than one people.

Ignoring the oddly worded ending to the sentence, I would argue that the sentence is not gramatically correct. In the first half of the sentence, the personal pronoun 'we' and possessive determiner 'our' imply that we are talking about more than one person, but in the second half of the sentence only one brain is being referred to, as evidenced by the singular 'it', in 'to make sure it stays fit for long.' So it would probably be best to pick a side...

Either

  • "You need to put your brain to work to make sure it stays fit for a long time."

or

  • "We need to put our brains to work to make sure they stay fit for a long time."

would be good starting points.

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