What is correct: a couple hours OR a couple of hours?

I have always used the expression "a couple of hours." On the other hand, now I see every use of the term on the web, in mainstream published novels, in published essays, etc., expressed as "a couple hours." This usage doesn't seem to make any sense, but I can't find anything published that uses "a couple of hours."

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  • 6 months ago
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    I think at one time it was 'a couple of hours'. That's probably still the proper way to say it based on the formal rules. But everyone says 'a couple hours' or 'a couple people' or 'a couple beers', and everyone knows what they mean.

    American English is how people speak it. If people begin using words a certain way, the usage will eventually find its way into the dictionary. Most recently I learned the Oxford English Dictionary has added a new entry for 'literaly' to mean 'not literally'. Because many people use it that way. So now a perfectly good word like 'literaly' means two totally opposite things!

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  • 6 months ago

    This is one of those time-morphing usages. A couple of (anything) is the way it was once dominantly said (in my personal experience which is limited, of course), but over the years, I have observed that couple has become used the same as few: a couple dogs, a few dogs, several dogs. none employ the preposition anymore, if they even once did.

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  • 6 months ago

    'A couple of hours' is correct.

    But of course what's correct, and what people actually say, don't always match.

    In the UK we still say 'a couple of beers'. Yes, the 'of' is almost inaudible, but it's still there. A couple of hours, a couple of days, a couple of beers, a couple of miles ... .

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  • 6 months ago

    A couple of hours is correct. That's what you use if you're writing a thesis or speaking to a prospective employer. A couple hours is not grammatically correct but is common and acceptable in informal circumstances.

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