In a sentence where I want to refer to a twin siblings where I am not one of the twins, how should I phrase it?

Example 1

When you have  a  twin sisters, ...

This comes to my mind first but it also sounds like I am one of the twins.

Example 2

When you have a pair of twin sisters, ...

This sounds weird but it seems to more accurately distinguish myself from the twins.

Which is the more appropriate one? Or am I just overthinking it?


In terms of simple grammar, you first sentence has a mistake in it. It should be

When you have twin sisters, ...

'Sisters' is plural, so you do not use an indefinite article.

Once corrected, this clause implies quite clearly that you are not one of the twins.

Your second example is grammatically correct, but also needs to be corrected. 'Twins' are by definition 'a pair', so it is a tautology to say so.

  • I've downvoted this answer because it fails to properly answer the core question. "When you have twin sisters" does not clearly indicate the speaker is not one of the sisters. For example, "When you have twin sisters (such as my sister and I) ..." – Andrew Mar 6 '19 at 2:43
  • 1
    If you are a twin sister, you have at most one twin sister, except in the relatively unlikely case where the family has multiple sets of multiple births. You cannot refer to yourself as 'having twin sisters'. – fred2 Mar 6 '19 at 4:03
  • I believe I just did. But mutual contradiction is pointless. I just wanted to give context for the downvote, and to let OP know why I think your answer is flawed. – Andrew Mar 6 '19 at 6:01

I'm not completely clear on what you want to say, but let's assume it's something like:

When you have a twin sister, you often feel like you can read each other's thoughts.

You are correct that this means you are one of the twins. If instead you want to distinguish them as separate people, why not keep it simple:

Twin sisters often feel as if they can read each other's thoughts.

If you want to maintain that sentence structure, "When you have ..." you might have to add more information:

When you have the situation where there are twin sisters, they often say they can read each other's thoughts.

This is somewhat verbose, but clear. However you may be able to shorten it:

With twin sisters, they say they can read each other's thoughts.

Naturally you may have to adjust this if you want to say something different. In any case, the use of the third-person "they" clearly indicates you are not one of the twins.

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