Is it “Two Pair of Shoes” or “Two Pairs of Shoes”?

Following virtual training sessions on Write It So They Read It: Technical Writing for Non-Technical Employees or Proof It! How To Be a Better Proofreader, participants send me questions about grammar and writing and punctuation they encounter at work. I’m reaching inside the figurative mailbag to answer questions from readers. Please tag me with your pesky punctuation or confusing word choice question, and I’ll be sure to answer.

Some people say, “I ended up ordering both pair of shoes from Amazon at 1 a.m.”

Or, “Mom took two pair of pants to the dry cleaners.” 

Someone in my own home will say, “I left four pair of shoes out in the garage.”

The plural of pair is pairs.

You ordered both pairs of shoes from Amazon.

You’ll pick up two pairs of pants at the dry cleaners.

Perhaps the person who left four pairs of shoes in the garage should bring them inside where they belong.

You may have one pair of pajamas or two pairs of pajamas.

Remember, a pair refers to a single grouping of two. Pairs is defined as multiple groupings of two.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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