Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 17

    how to interpret brains, chances, etc..

    As a student of the english language whose native tongue is of an asian language, I have trouble with understanding many plural forms of words
    that are not intuitive to me.

    Examples like book/books are easy enough to understand since
    they are countable and we can see how to count those words.
    However, in case of words like brains, chances, congradulations, forces
    and such, it is a bit harder to grasp what they mean when used in
    a plural form. For example, the word "chances"
    It seems to me people often use it like

    "what are my chances of winning?"

    if the word chance were to used as a winning percentage, I see no reason
    why it should be pluralized. why shouldn't it be

    "what is my chance of winning?"

    Same with the word "brains". Of course we can
    have two brains if there are two people, but it seems like its meaning
    is a little different when used in its plural form.

    Please enlighten this poor soul who's been struggling and laying awake
    countless nights.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 59,744

    Re: how to interpret brains, chances, etc..

    You could say 'What is my chance...', but we use plural numbers to calculate chances/odds etc- 10 to 1, 50-50. etc, so the plural makes sense to me.

Similar Threads

  1. beat the brains out
    By beeja in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 28-Sep-2007, 10:39
  2. took their chances
    By user_gary in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Mar-2007, 11:35
  3. I take my own chances
    By lukre in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Nov-2006, 12:31
  4. pea brains ??
    By wml in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-Oct-2006, 20:22
  5. Chances are
    By Nam Steven in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Feb-2005, 14:10


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts