I have been facing a difficulty understanding the usage between singular or plural forms in situations like this:

I give them a book.

I give them books.

If my understanding is right, the first sentence means I give a group of people just ONE book, while the second means I give a group of people more than one book. However, the following sentence sounds just alright to me, and I have seen some similar uses thrown around on the Internet.

The activity helps them develop a keener sense of body awareness.

My question is, if this is grammatically correct, why does it use "a sense of" while the activity should have helped each of them develop a keener sense, which sums up to more than one sense? Or should it be:

The activity helps them develop keener senses of body awareness.

  • 2
    Individual senses (such as sight or smell) only take the singular form: Their sense of smell was unaffected.
    – Mick
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


There's only one sense of body awareness. You can't possibly say,

Their senses of touch have improved

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