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  1. #1
    Evaviva is offline Newbie
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    Default use your brain or use your brains

    While learning English, especially doing the exercises, I am often got confused about the noun form---whether singular or plural. Like this one " use your brain" , is it interchangeable with "use your brains" ? I have looked up the dictionaries and found two slightly different definitions.
    In Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English with Chinese Translation, it is defined like this" (colloq, usu sing) mind; intellect: have a good ~; use one's ~
    In Langman Dictionary of American English, I have " n. (plural) the ability to think clearly and learn quickly; Use your brains, Vernorica.
    So are they different just for American English and British English? Please give me some help. I look forward to any of your ideas. Thanks ~

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: use your brain or use your brains

    They're both possible. I think use your brain might be a bit more direct, even ruder, as an instruction.

  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: use your brain or use your brains

    Quote Originally Posted by Evaviva View Post
    While learning English, especially doing the exercises, I am often got confused about the noun form---whether singular or plural. Like this one " use your brain" , is it interchangeable with "use your brains" ? I have looked up the dictionaries and found two slightly different definitions.
    In Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English with Chinese Translation, it is defined like this" (colloq, usu sing) mind; intellect: have a good ~; use one's ~
    In Langman Dictionary of American English, I have " n. (plural) the ability to think clearly and learn quickly; Use your brains, Vernorica.
    So are they different just for American English and British English? Please give me some help. I look forward to any of your ideas. Thanks ~
    "Use your brain" or "use your brains" are both used.

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: use your brain or use your brains

    If we say "Use your brain", we are referring to the body part, the jelly-like mass of neurons contained in your head.
    If we say "Use your brains", we mean "Think" or "Use your intelligence".

    Of course, the result is the same - you have to use your brain in order to use your intelligence.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: use your brain or use your brains

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If we say "Use your brain", we are referring to the body part, the jelly-like mass of neurons contained in your head.
    If we say "Use your brains", we mean "Think" or "Use your intelligence".

    Of course, the result is the same - you have to use your brain in order to use your intelligence.
    I find the expressions equivalent, even though we have but one brain..

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: use your brain or use your brains

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I find the expressions equivalent, even though we have but one brain..
    I agree, that's why I said the result was the same. However, the word "brain" is usually associated with the body part and "brains" means intelligence.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
    Evaviva is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: use your brain or use your brains

    Thanks a lot. I now completely understand.

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