Our minds are extremely potent devices.

This is a sentence of a novel. But is mind not a single entity? How can we use minds and devices here, which are showing plural form. Suggestions please. Thank you.

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    A mind is a single entity, but a group of people will have several minds, which are quite potent devices. – CowperKettle Nov 2 '15 at 3:07
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    Check a few dictionaries online and confirm whether the word in concern can be used as plural? Also, look at the examples they give. This is a permanent solution! Take this word itself. minds is possible. – Maulik V Nov 2 '15 at 5:47
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    My mind, your mind, our minds, their minds.... Unless, of course, you're talking about bees or the Borg :) – PerryW Nov 4 '15 at 0:54
  • @PerryW, even the borg hive mind is still composed of a collective of minds. – Omnidisciplinarianist Nov 13 '15 at 17:51
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    :) That was what I was getting at @Omnidisciplinarianist - if a collective or hive mind can be thought of as both single entity and group then 'My minds' could be a correct usage. We're probably going wildly off-topic now :) – PerryW Nov 16 '15 at 23:00

To answer your question, Seema, we have numerous definitions of mind. In this particular case, the word is referring to that portion of a person which gives rise to our consciousness and rational capability. Each person has their own.

By using the phrase our minds we are speaking of the collection of minds individually, instead of as a single group. As noted by CopperKettle, Maulik and Perry, that collective may be referred to as a single entity (for example: The mind of this council has decided...), but it is still composed of many individual sub-entities, each which can be distinctly called a mind.

If you're trying to speak of a groups of minds functioning as a single conceptual entity, likely toward a common purpose, the example could be rewritten as thus:

Our mind is an extremely potent device.

Finally, let's put that example of the singular into a context where it could be considered natural speech:

Individually we may not be able to do much, but our mind is an extremely potent device, capable of wonders we'd have no hope of accomplishing alone.


Generally, a standard person has 1 mind.

If your subject is multiple people (our is a first-person plural pronoun), then each person will have their 1 mind, and there will be multiple minds.

It's possible to mean mind in the sense you are thinking - that an entire group has 1 mind:

Our mind is an extremely potent device

Whoever is our here, we are saying above that all of them are functioning together under a single mind.

But the original sentence is saying that each person's mind is a potent device individually.

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