There are other languages that use a singular form. Irish: bríste (brístí for more than one pair); French: un pantalon (des pantalons for more than one pair) - also "un jean" for a pair of jeans. I've also seen "pant" or "trouser" used in singular form in English, mostly in snooty clothing shops that also like to put "the" in front and often an adjective - for example, "the tweed trouser"; "the jogging pant".
If this sentence had been "Den byxorna är inte mina." would that mean that we have already been discussing a pair of pants/trousers and i am now saying "those pants aren't mine"? And, if so, how is the meaning different from the way it is here "the pants aren't mine" or is it just a clarification?
It would just be wrong. You can say de byxorna and it would mean 'those pants'. But you have to use the plural article de because byxor is a plural word.
It works like this:
- no front article + definite noun = THE. E.g. boken = 'the book'
- front article + definite noun = THAT. E.g. den boken = 'that book'
- front definite article + adjective + definite noun = THE. E.g. den röda boken = 'the red book'
- demonstrative + adjective + noun = THAT E.g. den där röda boken = 'that red book'
The difference between the definite ('the pants') and the demonstrative ('those pants') is that the definite means 'you know which one I mean', or as you say, we've already discussed them. But the demonstrative is a way of pointing to the object in question. 'those pants over there'
Hope this helps!
oh, perfect! Thank you so much! =) I saw that the only way to learn words is like that: first I try to understand if they are from the En-word group or Ett-word group, then I write down the indefinite sing, the definite sing, the ind. plural and the definite plural. Since I found this method, learning and remembering Swedish words is easy =) Tack Arnauti!