brake or brakes?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by HSS, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    You would say 'hit the brakes/ put on the brakes/ slam on the brakes/ apply the brakes' for vehicles, as there are more than just one brake in the system.

    How about a bike? Would you still say 'brakes'?
     
  2. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    It rather depends on how you view the noun 'brake'.

    In a car you can 'hit the brake' because brake is often used for 'brake pedal'. 'Hit the brakes' refers to the actual brakes or the braking system as a whole. The same logic applies to bikes. Even if the bike only has brakes on the front wheel, there are still two brakes, one each side of the wheel.
     
  3. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    How about 'put on the brakes/ slam on the brakes/ apply the brakes'? The same goes for them, Dadane?
     
  4. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Could anyone please check to see if they sound idiomatic?

    I was driving a van, and
    [1-1] I suddenly put on the brakes/ the brake when I saw a boy crossing the road.
    [2-1] I slammed on the brakes/ the brake when I saw a boy crossing the road.
    [3-1] I suddenly applied the brakes/ the brake when I saw a boy crossing the road.

    I was riding a bike, and
    [1-2] I suddenly put on the brakes/ the brake when I saw a boy crossing the road.
    [2-2] I slammed on the brakes/ the brake when I saw a boy crossing the road.
    [3-2] I suddenly applied the brakes/ the brake when I saw a boy crossing the road.
     
  5. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    So, in a nutshell, whether it is a car or a bicycle, I'd say both put on, slam on/ hit/ apply the brake and the brakes are possible, depending on where your focus is on, if your mind is on the brake pedal or on the actual brakes on the wheels. Am I correct?
     

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