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Guest:
Is the phrase "set of points" plural as in the usage of "pair" or is it singular?
OR does it depend on its meaning?

For example, in the sentence

"The set of points repsent(s) the situations at which ...."

Should we use "represent" or "represents", if we mean that each point in the set represent a situation?

Also, I noticed that I am a little bit confused about which one of the following is true.

A pair of shoes are lost.
or
A pair of shoes is lost.

Thank you very much.
Guest:
Wow, that is a wonderful example. What about the following one:

A pair of knickers is lost.

A pair of knickers are lost.

Gosh, how many knickers are lost? Everything is so confusing. I am so confused. Why can't things be clearer?
In American usage, pair is singular. "A pair of knickers is lost." British usage is different, I believe.
Junior Member70
I don't think so - I'd rather say that what you've said, Nestor, is also true for British English as "Knickers" themselves are plural indeed but "a pair" in the phrase "a pair of Knickers" is singular though - that's why "a pair of" is used: to avoid misunderstandings.

"My knickers are lost" but "A pair of Knickers is lost"
"My shoes are lost" but "A pair of shoes is lost"

"A pair" is the noun and definately singular.

Hey Nestor - I haven't heard from you for some time - everything alright?
Hope to hear from you again!

Pemmican
Regular Member569
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Guest:
So, what about "a set of" or similar phrases? Can we say the same thing?
This is very complicated indeed. Please help to clarify it, otherwise it might lead to a serious misunderstanding.

If I say "a pair of shoes is lost" you imply 2 shoes are lost, don't you?
If I say "a pair of knickers is lost". How many knickers am I supposed to have lost? 1 or 2?
Senior Member4,756
Guest:
Dear friends,

I found a usage note in American Heritage Dictionary which is clarifying the discussion that I have started. I would like to share it with you. Any other comments would also be helpful:

USAGE Note (Pair)
Pair as a noun can be followed by a singular or plural verb. The singular is always used when pair denotes the set taken as a single entity: This pair of shoes is on sale. A plural verb is used when the members are considered as individuals: The pair are working more harmoniously now. After a number other than one pair itself can be either singular or plural, but the plural is now more common: She bought six pairs (or pair) of stockings.
Lol. It is still confusing. Am I thick or something? So let's say I want to buy I pair of red knickers. How many knickers will I leave the store with?
You'd leave the shop with one garment. As was said before, it could mean singular or plural and in this case it is singular.
Contributing Member1,105
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