I was just talking to someone and the conversation went like this:

"I didn't get those shoes because they were pretty bulky. The pair I got is pretty bulky itself"

Now, I feel like "itself" isn't the correct word to use there, and I called them out for it, but I just can't think about the right way to say it. Can someone help me out please?

  • 3
    You called them out about it even though you didn't have a better alternative? That's...bold of you. You haven't said why you think "itself" was incorrect in that context.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 1:25
  • You could say, “But the ones I got were also pretty bulky.”
    – Xanne
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


You would say:

I didn’t get those shoes because they were pretty bulky. The pair I got are pretty bulky themselves.

You clearly got these shoes not those shoes.

Similarly, you might say:

I’ve misplaced a pair of my favorite shoes. I wonder where they are.


No thanks, I already have a pair of shoes.

Great, I can’t wait to see them!

You wouldn’t say that you couldn’t wait to see “it”, because most people would not call a pair of shoes an it in these circumstances. Here they’re a they. It’s how couple can be construed as either singular or plural, depending on the circumstances and the speaker’s intent.

  • @nnnnnn Tpyo, sorry.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 1:37
  • I figured. Anyway, I agree with your examples, but on the other hand I'm fine with a sentence like "That is a nice pair of shoes", and don't like "they are a nice pair of shoes". Sometimes it seems treating the pair as a unit - an it - makes sense, sometimes treating the shoes that make up the pair as a they makes sense.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 1:41
  • This is can-of-worms time. Divided usage. And that's just me! "I'm looking for some new binoculars – how much is that pair, please?" But as you say "This pair of shoes are on their last legs." Certainly "This is my favourite pair of shoes." Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 11:45

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