Tell me please If it is possible to use "the" before "two" in some situations. For example, I am at a shop and I ask the salesman to show me the best suits he has. So he gets me one suit and then another and I say "I will buy the two."

  • That would be understood, but usually if you're using the definite article before a number, there's an extra phrase afterwards: "I will buy the two of them," or "I will by the two that we've looked at." The most common way of phrasing this without adding extra words would be, "I will buy them both." – Canadian Yankee Jan 17 '18 at 21:01

I will buy two of them.

means you will buy two of the same suit.

I will buy the two of them.

means the same as

I will buy both of them.

so you will buy one each of the two suits you were shown. For clarity you could say

I will buy the two suits you showed me.

The definite article is valid.

  • How about I will buy the twos or I will buy twos? Are these twos correct too? – dan Jan 17 '18 at 23:36
  • @dan - no, you never pluralize the number "two" unless you are literally talking about multiple "2" characters. As in "My phone number has three twos in it." – Canadian Yankee Jan 18 '18 at 18:34
  • @dan - or something like "blues and twos" which is a reference to emergency vehicles' lights and siren. – Weather Vane Jan 18 '18 at 18:43
  • How about Bad things happen in twos/threes? – dan Jan 19 '18 at 0:39
  • @dan - That is correct, because you're talking about multiple times when bad things happen two at a time, that is multiple instances of two things. That's different from "I will buy the two [of them]," when there's only one instance of two things. – Canadian Yankee Jan 19 '18 at 13:45

Yes, the can come before numbers like in your sentence, but if the subject is not introduced, you will need to include more information:

We have your shoes in two other colours: red and black. Which do you want?

I'll buy the two [pairs of shoes].

As mentioned in the comments, in English there are different phrasings of your sentence that are more common, if that is what you prefer:

I'll buy the two of them.

I'll buy them both.

I'll buy both of them.

  • You are confusing the issue by talking about shoes, which come in pairs, and not the suits in the question. – Weather Vane Jan 17 '18 at 21:43
  • @WeatherVane It was simply an example. – Kman3 Jan 18 '18 at 2:30

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