'Two pairs of jeans' vs 'Three ... of jeans'


I would like to know which word to be used in the blanks!

1- I bought two pairs of jeans last night.
2- I bought three _________ of jeans last night.
3- I bought three _________ of sun-glasses last night.

Thanks a lot


Hi Tom,

Pairs, pairs, pairs. What else?


Thanks, Alan

…but isn’t pair used for two only?


Hi Tom,

The actual item of clothing (jeans) or the item for seeing (sun glasses) are always known as a pair of - a single pair of jeans is one thing.


Hi Tom

“A pair of” is one of the interesting little excentricities in English.

Most pairs are clearly two separate things. But a few “pairs” are single units. With a little imagination, however, you may notice that these “single pairs” consisit of two, usually identical halves:

a pair of trousers/pants/jeans (note: each pair “consists of” two legs :D)
a pair of shorts
a pair of pajamas
a pair of suspenders
a pair of glasses/sunglasses
a pair of scissors
a pair of tweezers
a pair of pliers


The plural of pair can be pairs or pair. I would use pair in all of these sentences:

1- I bought two pair of jeans last night.
2- I bought three pair of jeans last night.
3- I bought three pair of sun-glasses last night.


4- “Did you buy jeans last night?” “Yes, two pair.”

Using pairs sounds distinctly odd to me, although I assume it’s also right.

Hi Tom,

I would stick to pairs.


I would expect to hear “two pairs of jeans” from someone who also says, “He don’t like it.” It’s common, but it sounds like an over-regularization, as if the speaker doesn’t know which plurals take an S and which don’t. It’s kind of like saying “deers” or “rhinoceroses”.

However, “pairs” would be plural all by itself, without a number, as in, “Separate the socks into pairs.”

Ho ho ho

I has just seen three pairs of rhinoceroses.

And I would never say ‘two/three, etc. pair of’. Poor old uneducated me! :roll: