singular/plural - a jeans, a pants, a trousers?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by hcjohnny, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. hcjohnny Senior Member

    For a pair of jeans/pants, can I say a jeans, a pants, a trousers?
    For example, how ___ the jeans? (a pair of jeans), should I use "is" or "are" in the blank?
    Do they fit, or Does it fit? Which one is correct?
    thank you.
  2. envie de voyager Senior Member

    Niagara Falls, Canada
    Treat them all as plurals.

    Put them on.
    Do they fit.
    My pants are blue.
    The trousers have pockets.
  3. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Similar for underpants, Y-fronts, knickers, briefs, shorts, (swimming) trunks, tights. These must all be in the plural.

    Of course if you use 'a pair of', you need a verb in the singular.

    • My shorts are brown.
    • His pair of shorts looks worn out.
  4. Ann O'Rack Senior Member

    UK English
    Isn't it odd that we use the construction "a pair of" for these items.

    Have you ever seen just one tight? (Wouldn't that be a stocking?) Or a single scissor? A lone underpant? (I can't even imagine what that would look like!) :D
  5. alex_ln Senior Member

    how <is/are> my jeans?
    My opinion "are"
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Yup. "Jeans" are plural.

    "His jeans are too tight."
    "My jeans are wearing through in the crotch."
  7. Johnny519 Senior Member

    I know pants are always in plural form, like your pants are stained.

    So we must always say these are your pants instead of this is your pants? Here is just a pair of pants, not a lot.

    <Moderator note: Johnny's thread has been merged with an earlier thread.>
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2014
  8. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
    This is your pants. :cross:

    These are your pants. :tick:
  9. George1992 Senior Member


    What does it mean "to wear through", Lucas? I tried to look it up in my Czech dictionary but didn't find anything at all.
  10. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    English - United States
    "Wearing through" means that the fabric is becoming so worn that holes are forming. The wear is going all the way through the fabric.
  11. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    I believe that, in earlier times, pants were actually two pieces, joined/held on by a belt (or something) at the waist.
  12. MS. Bak New Member

    when I told "he is wearing a pant"

    I should use pants? as plural?

    <Moderator note: thread merged with an earlier thread>
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2014
  13. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    English - United States
    "Pants" is correct. We don't say "He is wearing a pant."
  14. Daniela Herrmann New Member

    German - Germany
    (I'm completely new here and hope that I didn't skip any formal procedure. I promise to search the site soon.)

    As I can follow all explanations and find them completely logical, I have one more question on the issue:

    My pair of jeans is dirty. Singular verb, it's just one piece in our modern times.

    But what about my shoes?
    My pair of wellies are rotten? Do I need a pural verb here, as there are definitely two shoes?

    or should I stick to the pair as one pair? My pair of wellies is rotten?

  15. Lun-14

    Lun-14 Senior Member

    If it is one pair, then My pair of wellies is . . .
    If it more than one pair, then My pairs of wellies are . . .
  16. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    Yes, use the singular verb.
    Welcome to the forum, Daniela. :)

    Cross-posted with Lun
  17. semeeran Senior Member

    Indian Tamil, India
    1. He is wearing his pants.
    2. He is wearing a new pants.
    3. He is wearing a pair of pants.
    Are these sentences grammatically OK?
    Please comment. Thanks.
  18. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I should just point out that we don't normally say "My pair of..." like this.

    It's more idiomatic to just say:
    "My jeans are dirty and my wellies are rotten, so I've got nothing to wear".:)
  19. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    No: (2) is wrong.:(

    You can't use "a" with the plural "pants". So you need to say:
    (2a). He is wearing new pants.
  20. Daniela Herrmann New Member

    German - Germany
    Dear Lun,
    Thank you so much, this was my feeling, too.

    Dear Donny,
    Well, yes, I would say that, too.
    A pair of .... is not really in my active vocabulary.
    But Bavarian teachers are teaching - and this is a quote from an official school book - :

    "I need a a pair of blue jeans. How much are they?"

    I teach a little girl, 5th grade, and she had to reproduce these sentences with a pair of trousers and a pair of shoes.... :eek:/

    So I wonder what is going to happen, as she will present her homework with these sentences:
    I need a pair of trousers. How much is it?

    ON the other hand, this is what I found on Thesaurus:
    (all quotes)
    Example sentences containing 'pair of spectacles'

    "The Committee Chairman removed a pair of spectacles and cleaned them with a snowy-white handkerchief.
    `The clown pulled a giant pair of spectacles from his bag and put them on his head with an elastic band.
    O'Connor, Joe DESPERADOES
    Example sentences containing 'pair of bellows'

    It was connected to a pair of bellows , they in turn were feeding a long tube.

    All examples I found on Thesaurus used the plural after a pair of plus plural noun....and there are abundant.... :eek:/

  21. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    Hi, Daniela,
    You probably misunderstood DonnyB. "A pair of" is fine but we don't usually say "my/his/her/your/their(/possessive) pair of" -- we say "my/his/her thing" instead.

    "I need a pair of jeans/socks/shoes" is perfectly fine.

    I think that's what DonnyB meant. Please do correct me, DonnyB, if I'm wrong.

  22. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Sorry, yes:oops:, you're absolutely right, of course: it's saying "my pair of" which doesn't really work.
    We would in fact say: "I need a pair of blue jeans/trousers/boots.... How much are they (or these)" i.e. plural, not "How much is it?". If you were to ask "How much is this pair?" then it would be singular, but I think the assumption would more usually be made that you were asking about the prices of the jeans in the shop, or the jeans on display, and so you would use a plural verb to refer to "pairs" of jeans (plural).
  23. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    I just inserted the bracketed words in pink to remove any possible confusion about whether "jeans" there refers to one article of clothing or more than one. (From a non-native speaker's perspective.)
  24. Daniela Herrmann New Member

    German - Germany
    But I still have a kind of "antiquated" feeling with using a pair of in general:
    Could you hand me those scissors, please? (is that wrong?)
    I would never say: Could you hand me that pair of scissors, please?
    I just wanted to say that in oral language (as non-native speaker), I'd rather avoid using pair in anyway...

    Thank you all for helping me think!
    I guess I've got it now!... back to the plural/singular

    Referring to German, it is getting easier:

    There is a pair of clean trousers in the wardrobe.
    In German you talk about one item. Ein Paar, capitalized. (We know the phenomenon of ein Paar Hosen - a pair of trousers, too)

    A pair of experts are of another opinion.
    In German you talk about several people in this context. Ein paar (small letter), meaning some

    It depends on the element after a pair of :eek:)

    Could this be the right access to it?
    Monday's getting closer and I think I will have to stand up for my decision for the singular verb with a pair of jeans, as soon as my student comes up with that in her class when homework has to be corrected, her teacher will contact me. A pair of Bavarian teachers are fond of whatever is printed in black and white in old school books... ;o)

  25. Daniela Herrmann New Member

    German - Germany
    .. oh, I forgot to say that the picture in the girls' exercise shows a picture with just one pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, one pair of socks.
    Therefore, the idea that the customer might be asking for the price of all jeans available didn't cross my mind... sorry.
  26. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    We don't really tend to use "pair of" much with these plural things. I'd say simply "Can you pass me the scissors, please?"

    With something like "I have only one clean pair of trousers left", there isn't really an alternative idiomatic option, but "I'm going shopping for [some] new jeans/new shoes" works: you might buy one pair or several pairs.
  27. Daniela Herrmann New Member

    German - Germany
    Donny, thank you so much.
    I think, I can explain it now correctly.
  28. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    British English
    If you use 'a pair of' the verb has to be singular if 'a pair' is the subject. The fact that the book gives the unnatural examples in OP doesn't change that.
    But once we've used a pair in a sentence, we then start talking about 'jeans' which is plural.
    So the quote is perfectly correct.
    "I need a new pair of jeans. How much are these (jeans)?" :tick:
    'These' means 'jeans', not 'a new pair'.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  29. Daniela Herrmann New Member

    German - Germany
    Thank you very much, Hermione,
    this also helps a lot to get a logical access to it.
    I think it is very close to the German way to use it.

    The school book continues with:
    Can I try them on? (The sentence before mentions the pair of jeans in size 29)

    It's clear now that they just refer to the jeans (instead of the pair)


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