A Couple OF Things

Just because you hear people saying “I should have went,” or, “I seen,” or “I’m gonna,” doesn’t make this kind of grammar correct. Yes, sometimes people do talk like that, but this is the reason these expressions should only be used in direct dialogue. If we accept these phrases as correct, our language will devolve into a disgusting mess. Some say it’s progress to let the language change to reflect the times. I’m not saying we have to stick with old-fashioned terms – I don’t want to be trying to speak or write Chaucer’s English – but we should be making an effort not to let the language go to the hot place in a handbasket either.

So today I’m going to pick on one more error that I see with alarming frequency, and that is the use of the term “a couple of.” Many would like to see the “of” dropped. To me it just looks wrong, and it is wrong if you are one of those who don’t want the language eroded.

Often, I see the “of” being dropped so that instead of “picking a couple of apples” I see “picking a couple apples.”

A couple means two, as in a pair. It doesn’t mean one or three or five (although I’ve seen it used to refer to three). Technically, it means two.

So just as you would say a pair of, you could say a couple of whatevers.

The word “couple” is usually preceded by “a” and followed by “of.”

I would like a couple of cookies please.

(It should not be I would like a couple  cookies please,”  or even “I would like couple of cookies please.”)

There is a case where you would leave out the “of.” An example would be if you add the word “more.”

I would like a couple more cookies, please.

After all this dry stuff, I think I’d like a couple of cups of coffee with my couple of cookies. (Ah, there you see that “a couple” can be replaced by “my couple.”)

And no, these are not a couple of fat caterpillars; they are Yule Logs (cookies made with dates and coconut and pecans).

Happy Holidays!

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16 thoughts on “A Couple OF Things

  1. Fat Caterpillars, so funny! While my grammar isn’t perfect, I do see our English language slowly being shredded by groups that seem to want to create their own version of the language. That irritates me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are still many moments where our language should rely on a more formal style . . . such as application letters, resumes, business documents. Being old school, I haven’t quite caught on to to texting’s more abbreviated format.

    Liked by 1 person

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