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Could someone please explain to me when to use plural/singular nouns with plural possessive pronouns?

1) As I’ve said before, all learning, regardless of age is about the input into our brains.

2) Scanning will be very valuable and will open up our brain and body processes to the outside world.

3) Patients who have their chin, jowls, or neck treated with liposuction can expect to experience mild discomfort with some bruising or swelling.

4) Most people find that the shape or definition of their chin has changed.

5) Two girls lying on bed with their chins resting on their hands stock photo by Creatas.

6) They had been enjoying the gravy train, and the grease was running down their chins.

Thanks!
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Hi,

Could someone please explain to me when to use plural/singular nouns with plural possessive pronouns? Generally speaking, use the plural. But, it depends somewhat on the context. Let's examine your examples.

1) As I’ve said before, all learning, regardless of age is about the input into our brains. Either is accpetable. .

2) Scanning will be very valuable and will open up our brain and body processes to the outside world. Here' brain' is a noun used as adjectivally, to qualify processes, justas 'body' is. So, singular is fine.

3) Patients who have their chin, jowls, or neck treated with liposuction can expect to experience mild discomfort with some bruising or swelling. Singular seesms fine to me here. It makes it clear that we are focussing on 'one person's physical features', and thus we understand that one person may have multiple jowls.

4) Most people find that the shape or definition of their chin has changed. Again, it seems fine here. We do speak of a fat person having multiple chins, and this makes it clear that we don't mean that here.'

5) Two girls lying on bed with their chins resting on their hands stock photo by Creatas. I'd say 'chins' because you said 'hands'. It seems to fit better.

6) They had been enjoying the gravy train, and the grease was running down their chins Either would be acceptable, but I prefer plural.

Best wishes, Clive
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5, 6

well, you need the plural, otherwise you may think they are jointed at the headEmotion: smile
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Comments  
Thanks Clive, I think I understand what you are saying, but it would take me a while to learn this as it is not clear to me when a context switches from plural to singular ('they' is always plural to me). I believe that is something I have to learn from experience as there is no grammar rules to guide me on that (is there?).

One thing is clearer to me is that when using relative pronouns (whose/that/who/whom) like in (3), I could either choose chin/chins depending on which context I would like to convey to the audience. If I choose chin, it means I would want to emphasize on describing a single person from the group. Meanwhile, chins would refer the entire group. Am I right?

For example,
1) People who have a crooked nose are likely to be rich according to fortune tellers.
2) People who have crooked noses are likely to be rich according to fortune tellers.

I think both are fine but (2) sounds a little weird to me Emotion: stick out tongue My instinct would direct me to (1) as the right sentence. Maybe what you mean by context is the one that is most commonly used, and there is no way to figure out except memorizing each and every situation?
Hi,

Generally speaking, I think you have the right approach to this topic.

Rather than memorizing each and every situation,I think you should just read a lot and you will slowly start to get an 'instinct', a 'feeling', for this kind of thing. Just be patient.Emotion: smile

Clive
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 Marius Hancu's reply was promoted to an answer.