operate machinery/machines/a machine

AlexAD

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Hello,

In Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery,
can the underlined text be replaced with operate a machine? operate machines?
To me, operate machinery sounds like a phrase come out of the tongue of a layer. Those guys love complicating things..
 

Barb_D

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I don't see it as a complicated word at all.

I wouldn't say "a machine" because that's so broad - a microwave? The DVD player? "Machinery" has a more mechanical sense to it, with moving parts that could harm you or others if your reaction time is impaired.
 

AlexAD

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Comparing 'machines' and 'machinery', do you think of 'machines' being of some particular type and 'machinery' being a collection of all types of machines?
 

Barb_D

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I see "machine" as being a very, very broad class of items and quite the opposite of "some particular type."
 

AlexAD

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Sorry, I don't quite understand.. what is the difference between machines (plural, not singular) and machinery?
Looking up the Internet I machinery defines as 'machines collectively'. With that being said, I don't see any difference. I'm just trying to find it out with your help..
 

MikeNewYork

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Sorry, I don't quite understand.. what is the difference between machines (plural, not singular) and machinery?
Looking up the Internet I machinery defines as 'machines collectively'. With that being said, I don't see any difference. I'm just trying to find it out with your help..

"Machinery" means "machines" as a group. At least in AmE, "machinery" would be more common in the use you intend.
 

Tdol

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To me, operate machinery sounds like a phrase come out of the tongue of a layer. Those guys love complicating things..

The phrase doesn't sound particularly lawyerly to me, but the whole sentence does. They may appear to complicate things, but they do also tend to get things right. Here, machinery covers all bases- it could refer to a single machine, multiple machines, part of a machine, etc.
 
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