Image from http://xkcd.com/1070/
Today’s quantifiable words-of-the-day: a few, a handful, several, a couple.
While ‘a few’, ‘a handful’, and ‘several’ can be used interchangeably, it is common for most people to use ‘a couple’ wrongly. Strictly speaking, ‘a couple’ refers to a quantity of two. So if you say you’ll be somewhere in a couple of minutes, it literally means you’ll be there in 2 minutes!
Nonetheless, ‘a couple’ has been used so frequently in a figurative manner than its meaning is somewhat diluted.
So as the diagram shows, ‘a couple’ actually means having a quantity of 2, but it can go up to a quantity of 5 and, hence, become interchangeable with the other quantifiable words.
Remember to use Ginger Grammar & Spell Checker when you use these words in your writing.
Have a wonderful Word Wednesday, everyone!
The Ginger Team