Refresher no. 18 on subject-verb agreement; using ‘pair of’ with nouns that are always plural

Choose the correct verb to complete the sentence.

  1. The shoemaker’s scissors (has, have) to be sharpened regularly.
  2. A pair of scissors of good quality (is, are) what I need now.
  3. Stylish shorts on display (has, have) caught the attention of many shoppers.
  4. There (goes, go) your last pair of outmoded shoes!
  5. Two pairs of sturdy shoes (suffices, suffice) for one school year.
  6. More than a hundred pairs of boots (was, were) donated by a civic club to workers in flooded areas.
  7. A pair of black tights (is, are) all that the teenager wants for her birthday.
  8. What (is, are) tongs for?
  9. Multicolored pants on bargain sale ( occupies, occupy) the display area of the department store.
  10. My friend has a few pairs of sunglasses that (costs, cost) a fortune.


  1. have
  2. is
  3. have
  4. goes
  5. suffice
  6. were
  7. is
  8. are
  9. occupy
  10. cost


Use plural verbs for nouns plural in form and meaning referring to items that have two identical connected parts or mates. (See sentences 1, 3, 8, and 9).

Use singular verbs if they are introduced by the phrase “a pair of.” ( See sentences 2, 4, and 7).

Use plural verbs if such nouns are introduced by the phrase “pairs of.” (See sentences 5, 6, and 10).