Big Pair, Little Pair

China Unicom has teamed up with Samsung and hired the athletic Li brothers, 李大双 and 李小双, for this Shanghai subway ad.

大双 and 小双

means “double” or “pair.” If you were to translate the names of these two directly into English, you’d come up with “Big Pair” and “Little Pair.” Good to know they’ve both got a pair, but if I were named “Little Pair” I think I’d feel I got the short end of the stick.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I think I’d feel I got the short end of the stick.

    Ewwwe, grooooss!

  2. LOL
    双 here means Twins (双胞胎), it’s common to call twins 大双、小双 in spoken Chinese, actually i’ve heard people calling the name in real life.
    so i prefer to say, “Elder Twin” and “Little Twin”

  3. oh, another odd thing, i dunno why Chinese can double 双 to mean only 2 not 4? for example, 双双落马/双双下跪, they aren’t pair+pair, just pair. 😀

  4. Looks like John had too many “Punny Flakes” for breakfast.

    I always like old two….. 😉

  5. lastking Says: April 4, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    李大双and李小双 are born in Hubei, Xiantao. Their hometown is famous as a factory of gym athletes.

  6. At least the ladys know they have a pair, but somehow I would imagine the big pair gets more action if you know what I mean. lol

  7. I wonder how the parents determined which of them would be called 大 and which 小…

  8. lastking Says: April 6, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    To Ben:
    大双 is 8 minutes older than 小双。

  9. owshawng Says: April 7, 2007 at 12:55 am

    I prefer da s and shou s from Taiwan 🙂

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