Although we learned British English and some words American English in school, nobody ever mentioned there was something like pants. So I suppose there are still some British English people left who actually call it trousers. It would be nice to know if Spanish people also do this strange doubling of things only because it might have been more than one part once upon a time ;-P I really never could get it into my brain why trousers have to be more than one. A pullover is also designed for two parts of the body, isn't it? And nobody calls it pullovers for one pullover. Scissors are halfway understandable, most of them are two parts if you get this little screw loose.
It seems in Spanish, both "pantalón" and "pantalones" can mean a pair of trousers. Via context obviously you would gather if you are speaking of several trousers: yo tengo 3 pantalones.
By the way, as Jibthoron mentions here: pants are rather American English. If a doctor (for the sake of an example) told a person with British English background to drop their pants in order to give an injection in their gluteus maximus, they would drop their trousers AND their KNICKERS...where as a person with North American background would only drop their jeans or chinos etc. ... just saying.
evelyn- evelyn- To understand why- you have to learn about the accents and the stress. words ending with s, n, or a voyel, must take an accent normally on the syllable before the last one. pantalón, ends with N but the accent is on the O because the stress is on the O, it becomes pantalOnes at plural, it ends with s, so the stress goes automatically on the syllable before the last one. When you'll learn this rule, you'll know that automaticcally.
Let me get this straight.
In English, we don't refer to pants as singular. I guess if you split a pair of pants in half, and took one of the halves, you would have one "pant" In Spanish, it's less confusing. Two or more pairs of pants are pantalones, and one is a pantalón.
Am I making sense?
This is because of Spanish pronunciation rules:
The stress falls on the penultimate syllable if the word ends with a vowel, N or S.
If the word ends with a consonant (other than N or S), the stress falls at the last syllable.
Any stress violating these two rules is marked with an accent.
Thus, "pantalon" (without an accent) would be read as "pantAlon" (the word ends with an N → the stress falls onto the penultimate syllable). To make it "pantalOn" we put a stress: pantalón.
With "pantalones", another syllable is added (es). The word ends with an S, so the stress has to go onto the penultimate syllable: pantalOnes. The stress is on the O anyway, that is why the accent is not needed.
Wow, thanks. Great answer! sorry it's been so long but I strayed from my learning Spanish and just came back. Funny that I clicked discussion to post the same question and noticed I already did whilst looking for the answer!
Question though... and I'll google it myself as well but just so the answer is here for others, ummm, what is a penultimate syllable?
Ok, so I googled it and I see now... penultimate just means occuring immediately before the last one, or 2nd to last. So in this context, second to last syllable is the A and that would be stressed normally because of the N at the end of the word but since this breaks the rule and stresses the O you have to throw that accent in there.
Thank you Olimo, you rock :)
Tú Versus Tu
The two words "tú" and "tu" are pronounced the same. "Tú" is the informal way of referring to the second person singular (you), and "tu" is the possessive determiner, which is the adjective that is used to show ownership to that person, such as "tu" does for "tu pantalón" (your pants), or, "su" in "su pantalón" (formal singular), or, "tus" in "tus pantalones" (plural), or, "sus" in "sus pantalones" (formal plural).
By definition, a pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun, while adjectives accompany the noun, either to qualify it, or to determine it, according to its class.
In consequence, if we say: "Tú debes traer tu paraguas", it is evident that the first "tú" results of replacing the name of the person we're talking about, and, we could put that instead, such as: "Andrea, debes traer tu paraguas" (Andrea, you must bring your umbrella). Instead, the second "tu" does not allow substitution - we simply want to say, that Andrea must bring the umbrella that belongs to her/him.
Note that possessive adjectives above are always used before the noun and vary by number and gender of the noun they modify, not by the name or pronoun of the person(s) who possess the object. For example, for a female cat you say "La gata es tuya" (The cat is yours) regardless of whether you are talking to a man or a woman.
But, Spanish has an additional "long-form" way to describe possession, which usually comes after the noun; so, we could alter the position of the adjective in the sentence of the previous example, to say something like: "Tú (Andrea), debes traer el paraguas tuyo" (You, Andrea, must bring the umbrella of yours). This way, using the long-form possessive adjective and pronoun, we can clearly determine which voice in the sentence is the personal pronoun, and, which the possessive adjective.