Pair or Pairs: What’s the Plural of “Pair”? (With Examples)

Some words in the English language can be tricky to pluralize. What is the plural form of the word “pair”? Is it “pairs”? Or should you use “pair”? This article will teach you what the correct plural form is and explain why, using several examples.

Pair or Pairs: What’s the Plural of “Pair”?

The generally agreed-upon plural form of “pair” is “pairs”. You can use the singular “pair” to mean several pairs, though this is a very outdated form. If you use the singular “pair” to describe several pairs, you’ll seem old-fashioned, so it’s better to simply use “pairs”.

pair or pairs

It’s interesting to consider that both “pair” and “pairs” are accurate in the case of the plural form, though nowadays one is significantly more popular than the other.

The truth is that while “pair” can serve as its own plural form, it might seem confusing to someone who doesn’t know that much English, since it’s a structure that doesn’t get much modern use.

This means that, for the sake of avoiding confusion, it’s just better to use “pairs” as the plural form, which will confuse no one as it’s a very intuitive way to craft your sentence.

When it comes to making a plural sentence, then, you can think of “pair” and “pairs” as interchangeable, and you can say, for example, 3 pair or 3 pairs and have both be correct.


“Pair” is the regular singular form of the word “pair”, which refers to two things that are grouped together. You can use “pair” to refer to the plural of the term, as well, though this is a somewhat more old-school rule.

It’s probably best to avoid using “pair” in the plural. This isn’t because it’s any sort of inaccurate or grammatically incorrect, because it isn’t.

Rather, while it’s a technically correct expression, it’s the sort of phrase that is bound to confuse people, and your goal in language should always be to strive for clearness.

Here are some example sentences that will show you all of the ways in which you can use “pair”:

  1. That pair of shoes is really nice, so I think I will save up and buy it with my own money.
  2. All these pair of glasses look good, but I’ll have to only pick one for my new glasses.
  3. This pair of scissors is busted so you should avoid using it, because you could cut yourself.
  4. Looking at all of the different pair of matching jackets and pants, you weren’t sure what to get.
  5. I really like that one pair of twins that we met the other night, they were really sweet and kind.


“Pairs” is the plural form of the word “pair”. It’s a completely grammatically correct word, and it’s the one you should use when talking about several pairs of something all at once. People will always understand what you mean when you say “pairs”.

While you can technically just use “pair” to talk in the plural, this is significantly more confusing than if you were to say “pairs”, which is why it’s the preferred term.

Here are some example sentences that will show you how to use “pairs”:

  1. All of these pairs of shoes are really nice, did you really make all of them yourself?
  2. The pairs of glasses from that store are extremely expensive because of the materials they use.
  3. His pairs of pants were usually very neatly tailored to his own measurements.
  4. All of their pairs of hands wore mismatched rings, with different gems in each hand.
  5. She bought me several pairs of gloves for my birthday, and it was a lovely gift.

Which Is Used the Most?

According to the Google Ngram Viewer, “pair” is a lot more popular than “pairs” is. This makes sense, given the fact that “pair” is also the singular form and not just a viable plural form.

pair or pairs usage

“Pairs”, which is only a plural form, will naturally be significantly less popular. This has been consistently true since the year 1900.

It’s important to consider the fact that, when it comes to the plural forms specifically, “pairs” is more common than “pair”, though the Ngram can’t distinguish between the plural and singular use of “pair”.

Pair or Pairs of Socks?

You should use “pair of socks” when you’re talking about a singular pair of socks, and you should use “pairs of socks” when you’re referring to several distinct pairs of socks. You can technically use “pair of socks” to talk about several pairs, but this can be confusing.

For this sort of sentence, it’s best to keep it as clear as possible, which means to use “pairs” when talking about several pairs of something.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • These pairs of socks were really cheap but were very high quality.
  • That pair of socks was really nice when I bought it, but it’s very old now.