Pair (grammar)

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The phrase a pair of is always followed by a grammatical plural: "a pair of apples". However in some cases this refers to only one semantic object: "a pair of trousers" is only one garment, not two.

Other nouns that are usually said to be a pair of, with the plural, include a pair of pants (or shorts, etc – garments worn on the legs); spectacles, and binoculars, etc – instruments to use with two eyes simultaneously); pairs of scissors, shears, compasses, and calipers (and other tools that use two pieces joined together).

Shoes, sandals, and socks (and other garments worn on the feet) are referred to as a pair, as are gloves (worn on the hands); whether these are two objects (or this is a single garment) is debatable. Certainly one of any of them is only irritating to most of us.

See Pair - pare - pear for two homophones of pair.