1 Please pass me that (scissors).

As I know "pair of scissors" and "scissors" are both correct to use. But in this sentences book has replaced "scissors" with "pair of scissors". Can you please explain why so? I have one more doubt whether we use article here "a pair of scissors" or just "pair of scissors".

Thank you

3 Answers 3


Scissors is plural, like trousers, and that must be followed by a singular. The sentence can be made grammatically correct in two ways: by adding pair of (because a pair is singular), or by replacing that by its plural, those.

Please pass me that pair of scissors
Please pass me those scissors

These are both grammatically correct but, as this Ngram shows, the second version is a lot more common.

  • "those pair of scissors" === "those scissors"? If so it's not a fair comparison.
    – Pacerier
    Nov 30, 2019 at 18:57
  • @Pacerier, your equivalence is not correct. "that pair of scissors" === "those scissors"
    – JavaLatte
    Dec 1, 2019 at 5:09

Scissors, information, software, and trousers etc. are collective nouns and they don't have any plural form. Now, how to make them 'single?' as in your case? Then, you need to quantify them by adding a few words.

scissors can be quantified as: a pair of scissors.
trousers (--- as above ---)
information ca be quantified as a pierce of information

This is the reason of that replacement.

You surely need an article but in your case, it is following 'that,' so it goes without the article:

Pass me that pair of scissors

  • I disagree. From what I hear often. A pair of scissors mostly refers to two items not one, however, it can refer to one. If you need scissors you ask for scissors, if you need a pair you ask for a pair. However if you refer to three items, saying "three scissors" is wrong. You need to say "three pairs of scissors". Dec 27, 2017 at 8:16
  • Yes true. "a pair of scissors" is plural form to indicate two items. It doesn't refer them as a single quantity
    – starun008
    Dec 27, 2017 at 8:20
  • @starun008 Wrong! It does, but it's not as common as simply saying "scissors" Dec 27, 2017 at 8:25
  • Ok. If we says "glasses" or "a pair of glasses" (I have a pair of glasses for my poor eyesight) both refer to same thing what we wear. "a pair of glasses doesn't refer two quantity (Are those your glasses on the table?). Why not same in the case of "scissors".
    – starun008
    Dec 27, 2017 at 8:31
  • @SovereignSun what?...a pair of scissors refers to two items and not one? Aw...
    – Maulik V
    Dec 27, 2017 at 9:15

"Scissors" consist of a pair of metal blades pivoted so that the sharpened edges slide against each other when the handles opposite to the pivot are closed.

You can call the two-bladed cutting tool simply scissors or you can call it a pair of scissors neither will be wrong. However, if you refer to one unit, you should refer to it as "pair of scissors". If there are more that one then refer to them as "two pairs of scissors", "three pairs of scissors", etc.

Notice the difference in usage:

  • Give me the (those) scissors.
  • Give me a (that) pair of scissors.
  • I need to buy seven pairs of scissors.
  • We threw away our old scissors.
  • I am using a special pair of scissors.
  • In that case, use of "scissors" is correct here. We don't need to replace it with "pair of scissors"
    – starun008
    Dec 27, 2017 at 8:13
  • You can use either. Dec 27, 2017 at 8:27
  • "Give me a (that) pair of scissors. (Either one unit or two)". I don't get why you says it can be refer to two unit also. "I have two pairs of scissors. This one is better than that one." Or "I have a pairs of glasses. This one is better than that one." if "a pair of" can be also refer to two unit, then mentioned sentences are correct here.
    – starun008
    Dec 27, 2017 at 8:36
  • "I have a pair of glasses" can mean one unit or two units. However, I think I'd understand it as "glasses" - one unit. Dec 27, 2017 at 8:40
  • 1
    @SovereignSun ....can mean one unit or two units, again? I think you are confused between a pair of normal nouns and a pair of collective nouns to quantify. The latter one never means two items.
    – Maulik V
    Dec 28, 2017 at 4:41

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