pants

ruifeng posted:

1.These are black pants.

How many pairs of pants are we talking about?

Sentence (1) speaks of an indefinite number of pairs of pants, Ruifeng.

ruifeng posted:
2. How many pants are we talking about?
Is this also correct?

The rule here is pretty simple: you need to use "pairs of pants" if you wish to refer to pairs of pants. "How many pants are we talking about?" could be used to ask, say, about the number of short breaths taken by somebody. "Pants" needn't refer to the clothing garments you have in mind.

Ruifeng,

I forget who first said this (it might have been Ambrose Bierce), but "pants" is a noun that is singular at the top and plural at the bottom.  As David says, the garment is always referred to in English in terms of pairs.  That being said, the plural of "pair" is sometimes written and spoken without the final "s":

I bought three pair of pants today.

And, as David also says, "pants" always has to be in plural form when referring to the garment.  A one-legged man does not wear "a pant", and we don't say "six pants" when we mean "three pair of pants".

Several other nouns follow the same pattern, such as "jeans", "trousers", "slacks", "shorts", etc.  But, of course, as you know, all this was covered in your earlier thread "pair".

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