"a couple"真正的意思

Dear All,

Panda 要問你們一個簡單再不過的英文。


後來她說到她還有 "a couple" of XXX (實際上她有不只兩個XXX,而有3〜4個),所以我糾正她,說應該要用 "a few" 因為是more than two,但她卻argue 說 a couple只是figure of speech, 不一定是代表 "兩個"。




#1,請問你是來亂的嗎?= - ="

Update 2:

So glad my man Sag came to the rescue, wouldn't want to waste my points on some google answer!

Update 3:

To Prissy,

She grew up in Canada as opposed to the US.

8 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    正式的用法, a couple = two

    我記得 Wheel of Fortune 曾經有人猜 T, 主持人回答:"Yes, we have a couple of Ts here." 結果就是兩個。

    好像比較非正式的用法,才將 a couple = a few = several


    查了網上字典,what a surprise! Most likely the new generation has extended it to be "several" too.



    a couple of - more than one but indefinitely small in number; "a few roses"; "a couple of roses"

    2013-01-20 16:01:43 補充:


  • ?
    Lv 5
    8 years ago


    The usage seems to vary. However, I typically interpret it as "exactly 2" as well. And I understand that this is how it's interpreted in both Western and Eastern Canada.

  • 8 years ago

    Hey lame panda, u know u have all the correct answers in ur mind, why bother ask here.

  • 8 years ago

    Wait up and hold your horses, dude! This is not a matter of dictionary thing.

    In USA, most people I talked to, myself included, "a couple of ..." means exactly 2, no more no less.

    2013-01-20 19:12:43 補充:

    However, many parts of the world, TW probably included, take it to mean "a few". I saw many posters here with strong support on this interpretation in past posts.

    2013-01-20 19:13:18 補充:

    So, to know what the speaker really means, you need to look at the context as well as where she learned her Eng.

    Isn't it a beautiful phenomenon?

    2013-01-20 20:01:45 補充:

    Also, answer 001 made a good argument - if a couple is >2 then won't they be fighting all the time? Unless she likes 3-some/4-some? Your female friend is liberal indeed.

    2013-01-20 20:19:56 補充:

    1. distorted? not in human language. It is always true that popular one prevails.

    2. "preferable"? by whom? Give birth to 2B pandas and your camp may win it easily.

    2013-01-20 21:04:38 補充:

    Of course, my northern neighbor is either liberal or french.

    But in many occasions, nut cases, especially those who talk to pandas.

    2013-01-21 03:43:28 補充:

    Melon dude needs to do this - next time you heard someone in US say "a couple of"... question her exactly what she meant. Is it exactly 2 or a handful? I can bet with you that the former will be the majority.

    I have explained it all and nothing more rational to offer.

    2013-01-21 03:48:03 補充:

    Even though dirty panda came to US when his language brain was already 90% cooked, he and I make 2 supporters on the "exactly 2" camp.

    2013-01-21 08:45:04 補充:

    What debate? You had decided what you wanted before posted your question, otherwise, are you less or more altruistically convinced?

    2013-01-21 21:55:52 補充:

    You sure can have your belief in me but until you take on your mandates from the heaven, your piousness is questionable.

    But what more can you ask for from a mere dirty panda?

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    In American English, "a couple of" means a small number of things or people: There were a couple of things I wanted to discuss.

    see p. 338 "Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners" 2007 edition

  • 8 years ago

    Dear MSG,

    The reason for my asking such elementary question is because back in college, when one of my friends asked how much money I had in my wallet, I said "a couple" of dollars when in fact I had 4 dollars,

    2013-01-20 15:25:05 補充:

    so he gave me a hard time and said I should have used "a few" dollars rather than "a couple".

    2013-01-20 16:10:25 補充:

    Thank you so much for the clarification Master Louis!

    2013-01-20 20:15:23 補充:

    So Prissy,

    It is fair to say its original meaning has been distorted somewhat over a period of time, especially in countries outside of the States. Though I do think that to avoid ambiguity, it is preferable to use "a couple" for its literal meaning...agreed?

    2013-01-21 06:43:39 補充:

    Mr. Paul Sir,

    I am really not as smart as you take me for.

    In my logical mind, I just think "a couple" should mean what it is intended to mean, rather than being taken for a number between 2 ~ 5, if so, wouldn't it make the usage of "a few" obsolete?

    2013-01-21 06:46:53 補充:

    Also, this is turning out to be an interesting debate, which proves sometimes something so seemingly easy mean differently in people's mind.

    Wow, this is like the first time me and Prissy are seeing eye to eye...shocking!

    2013-01-21 08:53:27 補充:

    ...something so (seemingly) easy (can) mean differently in people's mind...

    I swear I think faster than my fingers can type = - =

    Of course I was confident in my belief little one, but it is still interesting to learn about how others interpret it...

  • 8 years ago

    According to my own understanding, informally, "a couple" can mean " a few" or "several". To me, if a person wants to be specific with "two", "a pair" might be more precise.

    2013-01-20 15:20:04 補充:

    for example: "a couple of days" can mean between 2 and 5 days, precisely, how many is not stated. One thing for sure, "a couple" is more than one but definitely small in number.

    2013-01-21 02:10:00 補充:

    If "a couple of days" means "two days" exact, then why bothers to use "a couple of days" instead of "two days". In my opinion, "two" is very exact number, no ambiguity involves.

    2013-01-21 02:15:57 補充:

    When people use "a couple" is to express their uncertainty or not (to intend) to express the preciseness. This is why in my understanding, "a couple" is more than one but restricted within a small number.

    2013-01-21 02:19:17 補充:

    This is also why people treat "a couple" as an informal way of expression.

  • 8 years ago

    中文a couple的意思是一對夫婦!!!

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