Is there somebody who doesn't think their language is ridiculous? (how many different languages are our regulars native to?) I wonder if we could turn this thread into a challenge of who can list the most things, silly in his language. Although, I haven't seen Null for a while now, so I could just make stuff up...
It depends on whether you're talking about the group or the members of the group. Contrast "the band is playing" and "the band members are playing". When you speak of a group in the first way, the group is a single entity. It's like when you talk about a person, you don't say "the arms, legs, head and torso went through the door" or "the billions of cells walked up the stairs". I've kind of gotten sidetracked, but the point is, when you're referring to a group as a single entity you use "is", when you're referring to the members of the group you use "are". So you say "the two men are talking", not "the two men is talking". The pair itself can't talk, but the individuals that constitute the pair can.
@LB, you're being silly. You haven't yet given an argument why English is bad. The "group is/are" problem is somewhat inevitable, probably present in all other languages (definitely in mine, though we use the same verbs for 3rd person in plural and singular forms so it's not as apparent) and actually kind of a feature, unless you have better suggestions, that is. The pineapple thing, while slightly odd, is entirely irrelevant.
Sure, you, as a native speaker, can see more quirks in the language and I'd agree to some oddities, but it seems to me that you know neither how you'd want it to be nor how that compares to other languages and are just complaining for the joy of it.
In this context, "the two" is not a noun, it's an adjective describing the actual object/noun. The noun itself is plural, therefore you use the plural "are" instead of the singular "is".
Although when you say "the two are x" it's a little confusing because there is no object in the sentence -- the object is implied.
Conversely, "the pair" is a noun... not an adjective. And therefore acts as the object. Since there's only one pair, you use the singular "is".
After looking this up... it turns out both "the pair is" and "the pair are" are acceptable usage and mean what you'd think:
"the pair is" refers to the group as a whole
"the pair are" refers to the individuals within the group.
However the only examples mentioned refer to "pair" without any preposition.
IE: "The pair are X" is legal, but it does not specifically say "The pair of Y are X" is legal. And in fact, it uses "The pair of Y" as an example of when to use the singular form, suggesting that I may have been originally correct.
Singular form bolded (note that both examples use the "of" preposition).
Plural form underlined (note again both examples do not use prepositions)
Usage Note: The noun pair can be followed by a singular or plural verb. The singular is always used when pair denotes the set taken as a single entity: This pair of shoes is on sale. A plural verb is used when the members are considered as individuals: The pair are working more harmoniously now. After a number other than one, pair itself can be either singular or plural, but the plural is now more common: She bought six pairs (or pair) of stockings.
Usage: Like other collective nouns, pair takes a singular or a plural verb according to whether it is seen as a unit or as a collection of two things: the pair are said to dislike each other; a pair of good shoes is essential
English is possibly the worst language, and also the worst language to become the global standard.
Why do you think so? And do you have a better suggestion? English is not that bad language: a small number of suffixes and prefixes (do ->undo, stop -> stopped and thing like that), strict word order, Latin alphabet and... well I guess that's it.
On the other hand, pronunciation is stupid - it's much better when one letter corresponds to a single sound, for example, I have learnt how to pronounce Spanish words in just few days. There are always exceptions but still it was easy to learn. English pronunciation took much more time; in English class we had to write pronunciation of every damn word for 4 damn years. At least now it just works in my head automagically.
I could argue about other things like, huge number of tenses (present simple, present continuous, present perfect, present perfect continuous...). There is about 16 of them, right? I still haven't learnt how and when to use them correctly because in my native language there are just 4 tenses. But some other languages have similar number of tenses and I believe Spanish speaker would find learning English tenses much easier.
-Different words are spelled the same (do read, has read) or similarly (of, off, on, one)
-Different words are pronounced the same/similar (there, their, they're, two, to, too, its, it's)
-Complex rules with many exceptions and even exceptions to the exceptions, which generally make it easier to just memorize thousands of words than memroize the rules
-Many words which are from other languages and have been adopted into English unchanged
-Highly contextual grammar
-Many cultural expressions
-Many words have no opposites
-Many words do not use the roots and bases you mention
-Many changes to words are irregular (person, people)
-Seemingly related words have completely irrelevant spelling and usage
-Ease of ambiguity with sentences, especially with pronouns
-Difficult to properly express certain ideas in a compressed format (they took the test; one person or multiple people?)
-Multiple different kinds of plural/posessive (person, people, persons, peoples, person's, people's, persons', peoples')
And, to top it off, many native speakers are often in doubt and have to look up the correct way to express, spell, or refer to something. Not to mention, I am a senior in high school, age 17, and a staggering majority of my peers struggle to read fluently and properly express their ideas in writing (let alone speech).