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I know that sunglasses, scissors, pants are plural. How about earring? If it's a pair (both left and right are alike), do we say "I love them" or "I love it"?

I got a present from my friend who is a native speaker, in the gift card she wrote “I hope you like it

So, how should I reply?

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    Sunglasses, scissors, and pants are attached to each other. You can't have one sunglass or scissor or pant by itself without breaking something. (You can have a glass, but this refers to a drinking cup, not spectacles. A pant could also refer to breathing rather than trousers(US)/underwear(UK).) This is not true of earrings. They may be a pair, but they are 2 separate objects, much like shoes or gloves. May 7, 2021 at 18:24
  • @DarrelHoffman note however one can have a singular “trouser leg”, of which there are two in a “pair of trousers”.
    – Tim
    May 8, 2021 at 10:30
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    This is a perfect example of how language morphs, or changes. Technically, a pair of earrings is a singular item - a pair. Like a pair of shoes is one pair. No multiples there. But, as language changes, and perhaps we get lazy, that becomes plural. A pair of anything ought to be singular, but often (as here) it can be considered not. A gift, though is always singular, and it's impossible to know whether your donor is referring to the pair, or the gift. My money's on the gift.
    – Tim
    May 8, 2021 at 16:52

4 Answers 4

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One earring is singular. Two earrings are plural. There's no special case here like there is with scissors. Usually one would say "I hope you like them," unless only one earring was gifted. However, two earrings together can make up a gift, which is singular, and with this in mind one can also say "I hope you like it."

  • I got you a gift. I hope you like it.
  • I got you some earrings. I hope you like them.

As for how you should reply... well... you can rarely go wrong with a nice "thank you!"

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    In addition, the gift card is referring the "unopened" gift, which is singular. The fact that it contains a pair of earrings (plural) wouldn't be known until the gift is opened, so the card avoids giving any hints about what the gift is. (The same logic applies even if the gift isn't wrapped and it's immediately obvious that a pair of earrings is involved.)
    – chepner
    May 7, 2021 at 14:54
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    A pair (of earrings) is a singular noun, hence "it" is correct May 7, 2021 at 17:22
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    @PhilFreedenberg Whether to use singular or plural with collective nouns like "pair" is complicated, and in some cases varies between dialects - British English treats them as plural more often than American English. To my ear "I got you a pair of earrings. I hope you like them." sounds better than "I got you a pair of earrings. I hope you like it.".
    – IMSoP
    May 7, 2021 at 17:44
  • @IMSoP I'm American and my ear agrees with you. Another example: "I got you a box of cookies, I hope you like them." "It" would refer to the container itself, not the contents.
    – Barmar
    May 8, 2021 at 18:18
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By using it what your friend meant was that she hoped you would like the present.

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"I hope you like it" — referring to the (singular) gift. Because "it" also keeps the contents of the gift a surprise (or at least references that endearing cliché, in cases where the gift is known), this pronoun choice comes across as more playful, caring, thoughtful etc.

After receiving the gift, you open it and reveal: earrings (plural). Now you should use "they" to talk about both earrings and "it" to talk about just one of them.

So, how should I reply?

The truly idiomatic reply would be "I love them". Probably every soap ever contains at least one gift-giving scene "I hope you like it"—"I looove them!"

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So, how should I reply?

"Thank you for the lovely earrings!" "It was a thoughtful gift!"

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