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pajama or pajamas

Discussion in 'English Only' started by yukinohana, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. yukinohana Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hello,

    I sometimes hear people referring to the clothes they wear for sleeping as "pajama(singular)", sometimes as "pajamas(plural)". Does using singular or plural have something to do with the design of the clothes? For example, if the suit of clothes is one piece, use singular; if it's two pieces, i.e. top and pants, use plural? Or is it just personal preference?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    As the WordReference dictionary indicates, the plural form pajamas is the accepted one. The use of the singular as a noun is not standard. We do use the singular form, however, when we use pajama as an adjective: e.g., pajama top.
     
  3. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I agree with cagey but note the following:

    From the pajamas definition here at WRD. (Note US=pajamas, UK=pyjamas)
    I just learned the etymology, so definition 2 might be singular (in those countries - if they speak English there, is it singular or plural, I wonder)
     
  4. djmc Senior Member

    France
    English - United Kingdom
    In French pyjama is singular. In English it is plural. It can however be used as an adjective as in pyjama bottoms. It may seem peculiar but the English terms for leg covers is usually plural; for example trousers, jeans, pants, trews etcetera. Even when the word is a pretty obvious borrowing (for example pantaloons) it is still plural. If one wants to talk about more than one of such garments one says several pairs of trousers.
     

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