Style Matters #46: It pays not to get your couples mixed up with your pairs

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Ever wonder why you see in print both the pair/couple is and the pair/couple are in print and ponder which is correct?

Well, both are, and it is pretty easy to understand the difference once it’s pointed out.

If you are referring to a single collective entity, then the correct form is the pair/couple is.

Examples:

The couple is this week’s winning duo.
This pair is a bit dull but that pair is amazing.
The couple was chosen to compete in the dance final.
Our skating pair was the highlight of the revue.

However, if you are referring to two individual people or things, then the correct form is the pair/couple are.

Examples:

This couple are intent on outdoing each other.
Her pair of bookends are mismatched.
The warring couple were happy to go their separate ways.
That pair of emus were taking turns to mind the baby.

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If you like what you’ve read here, you can see reporting4work’s similar posts at Style Matters or connect via Facebook by liking the reporting4work Facebook Page 

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