Monday, June 23, 2008

Define Couple

"In a couple of minutes."


"Take a few more bites."


"You can take a couple of more."


"Eat a couple more carrots and you can be excused."


"In a few mniutes."


"I'll be out in a couple of minutes."


"A couple more minutes then it is time for bed."


We use the words "few" and "couple" all the time with the kids. My definition of couple and few are pretty much the same thing. They both mean less than 10 but more than one and "few" is a slightly higher value than "couple." Anything over 10, I consider a "bunch".


Lauren has taught Maxfield her definitions of the words.

"Couple" is two. No more no less. "Few" is three, no more or no less.


Max's new knowledge and definition of the words is causing some issues in our house. When I say a couple or few I am thinking less than 10. He is thinking exact.


Let's just say he has 7 pieces of carrotts on his dinner plate. I, being the parent, want him to eat at least more than half of the carrots. So I say, "Eat a couple more carrots." I am thinking 4 or 5.


Max will eat just two carrots and argue with me that I said "couple".


Or maybe we are sharing a bag of Swedish Fish and I tell Max he can have a few. I am thinking about 7 or 8. Max will get upset because he thinks I am only giving him 3.

I made the mistake, while giving the kids some grapes, telling Max he could have a "couple more" and then saying Wyatt could have "few more". Max was beside himself that I was giving Wyatt more.

How do you define couple, few and bunch?

44 comments:

Dorion said...

I'm with your wife. I always thought a couple is two and a few is three. . .but then whats four? . .a Quad? and five? . .a pento?

Teri said...

I've always defined it like Lauren said.

Couple is two and few is more than three.

Susie said...

You're getting into shindig/hootenanny territory here.

Couple is always two. Few . . . I'm with Lauren, it's three, but you do have a little wiggle room there. I'd go as high as five, but no higher. A bunch is what you can hold in your hand, if it's small things, what you can cradle in both arms if it's big things. That is all.

Juli said...

I've always thought a couple was two, a few was three, and a bunch was more, lol!

Ern said...

I think I usually consider couple to be two, and few to be somewhere between two and ten. So, you're both half right (in my mind)?

Anonymous said...

A couple is two, a few is three, and I use "some" for four or more. Then I guess you move on to a bunch and then "a lot," which aren't as well defined and can differeniate depending on the item in question.

Giddy said...

My husband and I have this same argument. I am with YOU on this one. Acc to the Dictionary: couple means "a few, several."

Definitions that connote 2 include the notion that the items are somehow associated with each other ("two items of the same sort that are somehow associated"). I don't think the 2 beans that your son wants to eat are more closely associated with one another than with the other 3 beans that you want him to eat along with the original 2. So in this instance, couple can mean 5.


The dictionary definition of "few" never uses the word "3." It says "not many" "a small number of." Well, when it comes to vegetables, I agree that anything under 10 is a small number, but it could depend on the veggie. Nine peas would be a few, but in the case of large pieces of broccoli, maybe 3 would be a few.

I do think there are a LOT of people who have bought into this notion of "couple = 2" and "few = 3" but this simply isn't reflective of actual usage.

Do these people really think the Marines are only interested in 3 good men? (Unless they are implying that they are really only interested in BAD men!)

Keep fighting the good fight! (If it's too late for Max, maybe you can infiltrate the brain of your other son....)

Giddy said...

Just re-read what I wrote. Even though I think 9 peas could technically be a few peas, I wouldn't use few for 9 either. I'd use "some," or more likely, I'd start using fractions. YOu have to eat a third of your peas.

Who knew that dinnertime would be such a ripe environment for teaching word usage AND math?

Meegs said...

I'm with your wife: couple = two, few = three, bunch is anything more then that.

Bogart in P Towne said...

With your wife most of the time...but I might slip into William mode from time-to-time

Becky said...

I am with you wife on couple...a couple (hello...man/wife) is two. It is horrible to think of bringing a third into "couple." :0Even if it is a Swedish fish.

Few...(and my hubby and I argue this one all the time)...for some reason always meant five or more to me.

Phewwww....means, glad that is over, or glad that I narrowly escaped having to eat those darn carrots. (Because I am with Bogart who recently told me that cooked carrots are icky.)

The Maid

Anonymous said...

couple was specifically two, few was more than three and it depended on my mood that day what the exact amount would be, since my kids did the same type of stuff because they had to have DETAILS, we would just always say a specific number, like, eight more carrots. It never really stopped the continual negotiating, plus once they started to get goofy with what they "wanted" to do, a threat with early bed and no dessert worked until they were 8.

cheri

Anonymous said...

Dude- posting at the butt crack of dawn?! eesh! thats early! appreciate that you consistantly blog fun stuff tho!

melissa said...

A couple is two. A few is three, although I will allow wiggle room for few. A bunch or alot or some is more than three and up to any number I desire depending on the situation. We're in the bad habit of specifying how many more bites she has to take - i'm done with that. She eats until I say she can be done, or no dessert. I will not be tripped up by couple,few,some, or a finite number. :)
-Melissa

C D said...

I'm with the majority. Couple = 2; Few = 3; Some = 5 or less.

:D Good Stuff!

The Middle Child said...

I'm with the wifey too, to me a couple means TWO, no more no less. A few is THREE, no more no less. If someone asked you to help build something and they needed you to cut a couple inches off the end of a two by four, you wouldn't take 4 or 5 inches off, would you? Or does it now count when we are talking measurements?

I can understand where it would be an issue when there are children involved. My son expects me to be exact. "Mom, what time is it?".. "It's 8:00 pm honey!" then he goes to look and sees that it is actuall 7:58 and comes back to me and says "Nuh uh, it's 7:58!" as if I just lied to him on purpose. Estimation, rounding up, that's all lost on him.

Margaret (Peggy) said...

A couple is always two. A few of anything is always three. Several is always less then ten and a bunch of anything is about a handful of whatever you are talking about.
According to me.

April said...

Yes, a couple is two. A few is three or four, but not specific to one number. A bunch is 10 or more. Unless we are talking cookies. Then couple, few or bunch is up to my discretion. :)

Dan said...

I'm with your wife, just like a couple of your other readers.

Katrina said...

Gotta side with Lauren on this one, and have had the same arguments with hubby about this too.

sari said...

I think I agree - a couple is two and a few is three.

I don't really use a bunch unless you're grabbing a big bunch of candy or popcorn or something and frankly it's whatever your hand will hold, so there.

We have to be extremely specific here - my six year old is a STICKLER for exact terms. I can't say "In a minute" because he will literally stand there and count to 60 and call me on it.

Anonymous said...

I am still Hankering for a couple

The US Marine Corps said...

A few is, in fact, THREE. Yes, we are always looking for three good men. At any given time, there are only three of us who are worth a rat's ass.

Anonymous said...

how can i argue with a Marine?

i say a couple is two.

a few...is well a few...more than two but no definite number...and i say a few is MORE than three.

just me...with no kids to appease.

Melissa

Charity Donovan said...

Ohhhhh lordy! We have been having this discussion in our house as well. When you talking w/ little minds...they need to know everything in EXACT measurements, therefor I'm sorry but your wife is right on!!! Just another minor adjustment children make in our views on the world.

kittenpie said...

I'm with Lauren.

couple=2
few=3-4
some=5-7
a bunch=more than that

The Q said...

Couple = two
Few = three

I don't really think I have anything set for a "bunch" though. Will have to figure that one out and set it in stone like I have the others.

So yah I'm with Lauren on this one. They have exact meanings.

kimmyk said...

couple is two.
few is three or more.
bunch is well a bunch.

she's right.
you're misguided.

Charlotte in Pa said...

I'm not sure what kind of "couple" you and Lauren are.... but I always thought a couple was 2. If a couple means more than that for you, I suggest we adhere to the don't ask/don't tell policy.

Effie said...

a couple is 2
a few is 3
some is 4
several is 5 or more
a bunch, well, that's however many you want it to be!

Oh, and can I have a few Swedish fish, please?

Mrs. K said...

first off, i don't share my swedish fish with anyone- and i told my daughter they were gross so now she believes me.

second, must be a woman thing- a couple is two...a few is 3-5...and just 'take it' is take the whole damn thing.

JP said...

Couple =2
Few = 3 or more
Bunch = As many as my little Japanese hands can carry away

Hoolie said...

I don't go there anymore. I just pick an exact number.

gigglepotamus said...

Ah, sweet vindication....

Mindy said...

This is funny. We haven't really run into that problem. I am usually so distracted that when I say they can have a couple more cheese doodles, they have eaten half the bag before I realize it.

courtneyryan369 said...

couple is 2
few is like 3-5 or 6 (depending on what it is)
bunch is more than 6

but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Now when you and Lauren were first married, did you come home and say you had a couple drinks, a few drinks, or a bunch of drinks?

Ben & Bennie said...

I would say that being a couple is to blame for us us having a few.

Sparky said...

My dad taught me once up on a time that:
"couple" is two
"few" is three
"a handful" is four or five
"several" can be six to eight.


Don't ask for many.

Marleina said...

I grew up with 'a couple' being 2 or 3, 'a few' being 4 or 5, 'several' being 6-8ish, and 'a bunch' being more than you'd be able to count at quick glance!

When questioned, my husband (science/math teacher) doesn't have a set number in his head.

Leslie said...

A couple is two, a few is three to five, a bunch is a handful.

Redhead Mommy said...

Couple is definitely two.

Few could be three or four.

A bunch would be similar to a handful.

In my family, "a shitload" is fifteen or more.hehe.

And I would definitely only give a way a COUPLE swedish fish, as they are my favorite.

No_Newz said...

Definitions are irrelevant. It is clear to me that you love Wyatt more. Shame on you! Poor Max!

PracticallyJoe said...

I just spent a few minutes to read a bunch of comments and now I have a couple of suggestions ... Use specific numbers and give me all your Swedish Fish!