Does the term a couple mean “two and only two items”? Nope. Plenty of folks use couple to mean “a small but indefinite” quantity, and to insist otherwise is pure peevishness. This is part of a complete episode.

1 Response

  1. seaoftime says:

    Where I grew up (southern Minnesota) there was distinction between couple, a few, several, and a bunch. Although the terms were never considered specific and I can’t remember anyone being upset if the word they used to ask for something didn’t get them the quantity they hoped for. A couple was definitely thought of as the most specific of those terms however and from what I recall it was implied a couple meant two or a pair or at least less then a few. However, it wasn’t uncommon for people to say “hand me a couple three” or “hand me a couple four” of something if they needed to be specific. People never would say just “hand me a couple napkins” if they were really hoping for three or four of them though, they’d either ask for a specific amount or use the a few or several.