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They followed their natural bent/bents and their specializations are different.

In the sentence, which word should be used, bent or bents? In some dictionaries, "bent" is defined as singular usually. But I found "bents" in practical usage.

closed as off-topic by user3169, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, JonMark Perry, Glorfindel, ColleenV Feb 12 '16 at 19:53

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  • What does "their" refer to? For some reason it seems like it should read bend/bends. As written it is unclear what you are talking about. – user3169 Feb 12 '16 at 18:55
  • @user3169 bent - 1. A tendency, disposition, or inclination: "The natural bent of my mind was to science" (Thomas Paine). – ColleenV Feb 12 '16 at 19:52
  • @ColleenV I know what bent means, but I can't tell if that was the meaning the OP intended. – user3169 Feb 12 '16 at 20:26
  • @user3169 I don't understand. "Natural bent" is a very common collocation. "Natural bend" is only common for this context in the sense that it is a malapropism. Why would you assume that a learner really meant to use the malapropism but accidentally used the correct word? Especially when they're asking about singular/plural and not whether it's the correct word? – ColleenV Feb 12 '16 at 20:30
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In your example

They followed their natural bent/bents and their specializations are different.

the plural would be grammatically correct to match they and specializations, however it does sound odd to a native ear

They followed their natural bents and their specializations are different.

A better phrasing would be

They each followed their natural bent and their specializations are different.

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