"Are you buying eight shoes?"
Translation:אתה קונה שמונה נעליים?
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What's the deal with plurals of things that come in pairs and get the יים plural ending, like shoes and socks? Could this also be translated as 'eight pairs of shoes', or is there a different word for that? If I said שמונה נעלים to stress that I meant eight individual shoes as opposed to eight pairs, would that be incorrect?
There is no difference between נעליים and נעלים, they are just different variations on the norm of spelling when there is no nikkud. שמונה נעליים is understood as eight individual shoes. For eight pairs, use שמונה זוגות נעליים. The word נעליים in itself can mean any number of shoes, or a pair of shoes, according to context.
No, unfortunately there is no different word for single shoes in plural, so people assume that when you say נעליים you are talking about a pair and not two individual shoes. Although, if you want to be unambiguous just say "זוגות נעליים" and then people will definitely know that you are talking about a pair of shoes.
Normally though people talk about shoes as in pairs, so it's not a problem.