Recently I was reading a book entitled "50 Tips to Read People’s Mind". Somewhere in the book, the writer says:

These men do the seemingly impossible when they appear to be reading people's minds, often to a point of exactitude that confuses and even frightens.

I've always had problems with plural possessive nouns! I know this question might seem repetitive, but the answers I've found for similar questions were never satisfactory to me, especially when I came across this particular example. Why did the writer in the example above use both "people's mind" and "people's minds"? How are they different?

I know it's more common to say "reading people's minds" than "reading people's mind", but a search on google news and google books shows that the latter is not uncommon at all.

1 Answer 1


Since we don't all share one mind, minds is correct.

It's possible that the editor was just sloppy. But it's more likely that the editor succeeded in correcting the text inside but lost the argument with the author about the incorrect title.

(Not that I can read their mind. Uh — minds.)

  • God prevent the time arriving when everyone shares one mind! Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 21:33
  • As I mentioned in my question, the use of "people's mind" is not limited to the book I cited. There are many other examples of it on the Internet. Just search "read people's mind" on Google News, for example.
    – ML2020
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 6:44
  • The distributive singular ('the two men toasted their health') but I'd say 'the people's mind' would be necessary (meaning a generally held viewpoint); without the definite article, it just seems wrong. Commented Mar 15 at 19:15

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