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  1. #1
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    Smile usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Hello, I have a question about the following sentence.

    "A pair of apple trees are planted on both sides of the lane."

    Question 1
    Does this mean that an apple tree is on one side of the lane, and another apple tree is on the other side of the lane? (that is, two apple trees in total?)
    Or, does this mean that a pair of apple trees are on one side of the lane, and another pair of apple trees are on the other side of the lane? (that is, four apple trees in total?)

    Question 2
    Is the sentence gramatically correct?
    Shoule the setence be "a pair of apple trees IS planted on both sides of the lane"?

    Question 3
    If there is, what is the difference between the above sentence and the following sentence:
    "A pair of apple trees are planted on each side of the lane."

    If anyone could answer these questions, it would be a great help:)

  2. #2
    engee30's Avatar
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    Smile Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Hello, I have a question about the following sentence.

    "A pair of apple trees are planted on both sides of the lane."

    Question 1
    Does this mean that an apple tree is on one side of the lane, and another apple tree is on the other side of the lane? (that is, two apple trees in total?)
    Or, does this mean that a pair of apple trees are on one side of the lane, and another pair of apple trees are on the other side of the lane? (that is, four apple trees in total?)

    Question 2
    Is the sentence gramatically correct?
    Shoule the setence be "a pair of apple trees IS planted on both sides of the lane"?

    Question 3
    If there is, what is the difference between the above sentence and the following sentence:
    "A pair of apple trees are planted on each side of the lane."

    If anyone could answer these questions, it would be a great help:)
    The verb form is is one of the two options to say that there is a pair of trees on both sides of the lane. The form are is also used. It's really hard for me to say exactly how many trees there were.
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    Last edited by engee30; 25-Jun-2007 at 01:45.

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    "A pair" is singular and therefore takes "is". It also implies that there are two objects only.

    I would read the sentence as being incorrect and that the proper phrasing should be:

    "A pair of trees is planted on either side of the lane"

  4. #4
    engee30's Avatar
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    Cool Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    "A pair" is singular and therefore takes "is". It also implies that there are two objects only.

    I would read the sentence as being incorrect and that the proper phrasing should be:

    "A pair of trees is planted on either side of the lane"
    Not exactly. If pair of is used with a plural noun like trousers or scissors - yes, the only form of a verb is the singular form of that verb:

    The pair of trousers that mum washed for me has shrunk.
    There is a pair of scissors on the kitchen table.


    However, if pair of is used with other plural nouns that don't have two main parts of the same size and/or shape, you can use both the plural and singular form of a verb with pair of:

    A pair of apple trees is/are planted on either side of the lane.

  5. #5
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Can a pair be planted on both sides? Or on either side? For clarity - Pairs of trees are planted on both sides; A pair of trees have been planted on either side.

  6. #6
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    Cool Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Can a pair be planted on both sides? Or on either side? For clarity - Pairs of trees are planted on both sides; A pair of trees have been planted on either side.
    To my mind, on either side means the same as on both sides.

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    Default Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    To my mind, on either side means the same as on both sides.
    I agree, and there are four trees in all. Perhaps "on each side" and "on either side" are better than "on both sides".

    Of course if there were only two trees planted, one would say '(An) (One) apple tree is planted on (each)(either) side of the lane.'

    I would say "A pair of apple trees are planted.....".

  8. #8
    white little bird is offline Newbie
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    Smile Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Hi, I'm the one who asked the question of this thread. (I registered after putting my first post:)

    Anyway, thank you for your replies, I'm a bit confused, though.
    To sum up all the answers, the correct sentence would be:

    "A pair of trees is planted on either (or each) side of the lane",

    and the sentence indicates that there are four trees in all.

    Am I correct?

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
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    Smile Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Quote Originally Posted by white little bird View Post
    Hi, I'm the one who asked the question of this thread. (I registered after putting my first post:)

    Anyway, thank you for your replies, I'm a bit confused, though.
    To sum up all the answers, the correct sentence would be:

    "A pair of trees is planted on either (or each) side of the lane",

    and the sentence indicates that there are four trees in all.

    Am I correct?

    Thanks again.
    At Anglika's suggestion, yes it's perfect now. And there are four trees in total. (each pair = 2) + (each side = 2) = 4!

  10. #10
    white little bird is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: usage of the phrase "a pair of"

    Thanks a lot!

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