pair - couple

'a pair of'
A pair of things are two things of the same size and shape that are used together, such as shoes.

...a pair of new gloves.

He bought a pair of hiking boots.

When you use a pair of like this, you can use either a singular or a plural form of a verb with it.

It is likely that a new pair of shoes brings more happiness to a child than a new car brings to a grown man.

He put on a pair of brown shoes which were waiting there for him.

You also use a pair of when you are referring to something which has two main parts of the same size and shape, such as trousers, glasses, or scissors.

She put on a pair of glasses.

There would be a razor in the bathroom or a pair of scissors.

When you use a pair of like this, you use a singular form of a verb with it.

On a hook behind the door was an old pair of grey trousers.

A large pair of tongs sends voltage through metal cups.

'a couple of'
A couple of people or things are two people or things.

They've been helped by a couple of newspaper reporters.

We'd had a couple of dances.

You use a plural form of a verb with a couple of.

There were a couple of tables littered with saucepans.

On the hallstand were a couple of periodicals.

Note that you do not use a couple of in formal writing.
referring to two people as a 'pair'
Two people who do something together or are involved in a relationship together can be referred to as a pair. This is a slightly humorous use.

They'd always been a devoted pair.

They were a somewhat sinister pair.

When pair is used like this, you use a plural form of a verb with it.

The pair were wanted for the theft of certain jewellery.

referring to two people as a 'couple'
You refer to two people as a couple when they have an intimate relationship such as that of husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend.

In Venice we met a South African couple.

This would raise pensions for married couples considerably.

You usually use a plural form of a verb with couple.

Behind me a couple were pushing a pram.


Useful english dictionary. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pair — pair …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • pair — pair, aire (pêr, pê r ) adj. 1°   Égal, semblable, pareil ; ne se dit plus, en ce sens, que dans la locution : sans pair. •   Elles [deux chèvres] avaient la gloire De compter dans leur race, à ce que dit l histoire, L une certaine chèvre au… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • pair — 1. Used as a collective noun, pair is treated as a plural when it denotes two separate items and as a singular when it denotes a unit: so a pair of gloves, scissors, scales, shoes, trousers, etc. are singular whereas a pair of bachelors, dogs,… …   Modern English usage

  • pair — [peə ǁ per] verb [transitive] 1. COMMERCE if two companies, people, or things are paired, they are put into groups of two because they are connected in some way or will work together: • When the new products were paired, encouraging customer… …   Financial and business terms

  • pair up — ˌpair ˈup [intransitive/transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they pair up he/she/it pairs up present participle pairing up past tense …   Useful english dictionary

  • pair — PAIR, pairi, s.m. Titlu purtat de marii vasali ai regelui în Franţa şi în Anglia în evul mediu. ♦ Membru (pe viaţă) al uneia dintre cele două camere legislative din Franţa între 1815 şi 1848. ♦ Titlu de nobleţe în Marea Britanie, care conferă… …   Dicționar Român

  • pair — 〈[pɛ:r] Adj.; Roulett; bei Zahlen〉 gerade; Ggs impair [frz.] * * * pair [pɛ:ɐ̯ ] <Adj.> [frz. pair < afrz. per < lat. par, ↑ Paar]: (von den Zahlen beim Roulette) gerade. * * * pair   [pɛː …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Pair — 〈[ pɛ:r] m. 6; im alten Frankreich〉 Angehöriger des politisch bevorzugten Hochadels [frz. <lat. paria „Gleiches“] * * * pair [pɛ:ɐ̯ ] <Adj.> [frz. pair < afrz. per < lat. par, ↑ Paar]: (von den Zahlen beim Roulette) gerade. * * *… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Pair — der; s, s <aus gleichbed. fr. pair, eigtl. »(dem König) Ebenbürtiger«, zu pair, vgl. ↑pair> Mitglied des franz. Hochadels …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Pair — Pair, v. t. 1. To unite in couples; to form a pair of; to bring together, as things which belong together, or which complement, or are adapted to one another. [1913 Webster] Glossy jet is paired with shining white. Pope. [1913 Webster] 2. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pair — Pair, v. t. [See {Impair}.] To impair. [Obs.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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