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    #1

    Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    Hello there .
    It is my first post here and I quite happy my English allow me to ask question at last, after few years of struggle with English textbooks in home.
    My question seems be trivial, however I can't figure it out myself.
    Sentence: There is pair of forks and knives.
    Question : How many forks and knives is there? ( Number?)
    Do I understand correctly? : Forks=plural, pair of forks = 2 forks, + pair of knives = 4 altogether.
    What about There is pair of fork and knife ? Are both sentences correct?

    Thanks

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    There is a pair of fork and knife doesn't work.

  2. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    I think they use the word "pair" when the object in question consists of two parts. For instance, when we refer to scissors, we visualize an object that has two parts held together by a screw. Likewise, "a pair of trousers" would mean that there are two legs that make up this particular item of clothing.

    In your case, I'd suggest using "a couple of", meaning two forks, two knives. Or you could use "a set of". Correct me if I'm wrong.

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    #4

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    I think they use the word "pair" when the object in question consists of two parts. For instance, when we refer to scissors, we visualize an object that has two parts held together by a screw. Likewise, "a pair of trousers" would mean that there are two legs that make up this particular item of clothing.

    In your case, I'd suggest using "a couple of", meaning two forks, two knives. Or you could use "a set of". Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Partly, not only however.
    Dictionary says: "A set of two individual persons or things, esp. of the same kind, that are
    associated or complementary in use, purpose, position, etc. Also, the second
    member of such a set as related to the first."
    Now, I understand that pair of trousers means one thing for one person, that pair of forks means two identical forks but I'm confused about pair of forks and knives - Is it mean two forks and two knives or one fork and one knife, the latter can be pair in my understanding, like people - man and woman.
    If pair of forks and knives means four, why it is not pairs of forks and knives?

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    #5

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    It's all very confused. Saying "is" implies that there is one thing. A pair is one thing (grammatically). But a pair must be similar. "is a pair of spoon" would mean there is one pair, two spoons.

    If there was one spoon and one knife, it would be a "set" not a "pair."

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    #6

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    It's all very confused. Saying "is" implies that there is one thing. A pair is one thing (grammatically). But a pair must be similar. "is a pair of spoon" would mean there is one pair, two spoons.

    If there was one spoon and one knife, it would be a "set" not a "pair."
    yes... however... if something serve as a pair... like knife and fork.... it is pair.., isn't ?
    Now, if you repair something and you need a nut and a washer and as a rule you cannot use just washer or just nut you need a pair of washer and nut..., and now we came back to my question with different items though... pair of washer and nut or pair of washers and nuts... I'm actually pretty sure that I just said about 2 items and 4 item respectively. Just need confirmation. :)

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    #7

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    yes... however... if something serve as a pair... like knife and fork.... it is pair.., isn't ?
    No, it isn't. That is what I am saying. I might refer to the "matching" nut to go with a bolt, but I wouldn't call a nut and its bolt a "pair."

    If you said you wanted a "pair" of "nuts and bolts" I would bring you two of each. Two nuts. Two bolts. But it's not natural to talk like this.

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    #8

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    If you said you wanted a "pair" of "nuts and bolts" I would bring you two of each. Two nuts. Two bolts. But it's not natural to talk like this.
    This is exactly answer I wanted to hear... My initial question was :
    "Sentence: There is pair of forks and knives.
    Question : How many forks and knives is there? ( Number?)"
    You just confirmed 4 :)
    Where you know it from that it is not natural to talk like that??? It just sounds bad for you or any grammar objections ? I'm seriously interested. I just like to tie up the all lose ends :)

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    #9

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    No, it isn't. That is what I am saying. I might refer to the "matching" nut to go with a bolt, but I wouldn't call a nut and its bolt a "pair."

    If you said you wanted a "pair" of "nuts and bolts" I would bring you two of each. Two nuts. Two bolts. But it's not natural to talk like this.
    I just caught what you meant. :)
    Sometimes it is difficult to change the way you think when you learn other language.
    In my language pair means two things which just happen to be together quite often. For instance when you go out with someone you are both pair... but not in English, in English you are couple, etc...
    Thanks for help:)

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Pair of with plural ( no trousers , scissors)

    Quote Originally Posted by exvagrant View Post
    I just caught what you meant. :)
    Sometimes it is difficult to change the way you think when you learn another language.
    In my language pair means two things which just happen to be together quite often. For instance when you go out with someone you are both pair... but not in English, in English you are a couple. , etc...
    Thanks for your help. :)
    No. In English, two people can be called a pair of people. Two people with a romantic relationship, such as a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend, are a couple.

    A couple means two. Sometimes people use it informally (and not accurately) to mean a few: "I'll be done in a couple of minutes."

    Two objects are a pair if (1) they are the same thing and (2) they go together - a pair of socks, a pair of shoes, a pair of questions.

    A nut and bolt are not the same thing, so they are not a pair.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 01-May-2015 at 21:34.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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