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  1. Banned
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    #1

    Arrow Spirit/Spirits

    The Year's Champions - Of Mickey, Mikey and Our Demons - NYTimes.com
    Tyson did not allow his three years in prison -- for what he maintained was a setup -- to break his spirit. He climbed up from his knockdown, fists clenched.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/op...-edshah26.html
    Those of us left behind know that these bombings are perpetrated by those who wish to divide our country and break our spirits.
    Could "break someone's spirit" be the same as "break someone's spirits"?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    In your example, they are exactly the same
    1. X could not break Tyson's spirit - One man, one spirit.
    2. X could not break our spirits - Several people, several spirits.

    It sounds odd to speakers of some languages, but the use of the plural is common with parts of the body in English:

    Our mouths opened in shock....

    We can consider our spirits to be parts of us.

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    #3

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    A Transcendent Voice - New York Times
    His parents sought a voice teacher as a way to boost his spirits.
    Actually, I was trying to figure when to use the plural "spirits". Dictionaries seem to suggest the singular and plural forms are the same. I am probably wrong as usual.....

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    The singular and plural are the same in some meanings, but cannot always be used interchangeably.

    definition of spirit from Oxford Dictionaries Online

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    #5

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
    A Transcendent Voice - New York Times


    Actually, I was trying to figure when to use the plural "spirits". Dictionaries seem to suggest the singular and plural forms are the same. I am probably wrong as usual.....

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) You are not "wrong as usual."

    (2) You have asked an excellent question that many native speakers such as I

    cannot answer with 100% confidence.

    (3) Maybe (maybe!):

    (a) The use of the singular and the plural can sometimes be interchangeable.

    (b) It is one of those things that you must learn a "feeling" for. That is, the more

    you understand English the more you will want to use either the singular or plural.

    (4) I found some helpful sentences on the oneline Macmillan Dictionary:

    Plural (mood or attitude)

    She tried to keep her spirits up.
    The bad weather did nothing to lift her spirits up.
    Dad's in high spirits today, isn't he?


    Singular ( an enthusiastic or determined attitude)

    She was admired for her spirit and passion.

    (5) Maybe (maybe!) the plural is more general in meaning, and the singular is more

    specific?

    (a) For example, many years ago there was a famous writer in England named O.W.

    He was sent to prison for two years because of something that he had done in his

    private life. Prison broke his spirit. Soon after he left prison, he died.

    (b) Look at Mona! She's usually so sad, but today she seems in high spirits.

    Maybe she has found a boyfriend.

    (Those two examples are only mine; I do not say that I am right.)

    (6) If you find a good explanation, please share it with us.

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    #6

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    I have an idea that "spirits" is used, as TheParser says, when referring to feelings or attitudes.

    "Spirit" in the singular refers to one's own desire, will, soul, being. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

    One's spirit is broken in the same way one's will is broken. But one is in good spirits, the way one might have happy feelings.

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    #7

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I have an idea that "spirits" is used, as TheParser says, when referring to feelings or attitudes.

    "Spirit" in the singular refers to one's own desire, will, soul, being. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

    One's spirit is broken in the same way one's will is broken. But one is in good spirits, the way one might have happy feelings.

    Excellent, sir.

    Spirit = will; spirits = feelings.

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    #8

    Re: Spirit/Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    The singular and plural are the same in some meanings, but cannot always be used interchangeably.

    definition of spirit from Oxford Dictionaries Online
    'Raising spirits' is more often than not plural. But in the case of Mike Tyson it was not a question of his general approach to things; it was his fighting spirit.

    b

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