Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.


On identity
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.

On Christianity
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.

On dreams
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.


On melancholy
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.

On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.

On language
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.

On politics
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?

On society
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.

On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.

On philosophy
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?

On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

When someone says "I crashed a couple of cars last week", did that person crash two cars or something like two to five cars?

i say two.

i'm quite liberal with my language rules but for some reason, i cannot seem to see past this one. a couple of anything is two. not three. not four. because you can say "a few" or "some" when referring to an undetermined small number, you really shouldn't be using "couple" for anything other than two.

so i took this little query to the two dictionaries on my working desk. first, the macquarie dictionary, my official rulebook for australian english usage. the macquarie gives 14 definitions of "couple", in all its permutations, and makes no room for anything other than two or a pair. the second dictionary is a personal favourite of mine, the somewhat candid collins advanced learners. their first definition for couple says "two or approximately two".

i love my collins, and i respect it dearly, but i'm going to have to disagree with it today. what on earth is "approximately two"? it's either two nor not. or one. or three. there's no such thing as approximately two. maybe for some things but not for most.

i'll be fair. you can be approximately 2km from your local donut shop because you're actually 1.8km away from it. that's fine. maybe it's fair for you to say you're a couple of kilometers from the donuts. but you can't have dinner with approximately two guys. you can't dig approximately two holes and you can't hold approximately two ideas. there are some nouns in this world for which there can be no approximation, and for these nouns, you just can't use "a couple" to mean anything other than two.

if the thing can only exist in whole or not at all, a couple always means two. if the thing can exist in a variety of minute degrees around two, then yes, a couple can mean approximately two.

in fact, i think now that that's what the collins advanced learners means. and yes, now i'll stand by it. and stand by the macquarie. you can't use "couple" to mean three or four things.


Genusfrog [ 9:18 am ]


  • i'm with you on this one. a couple is two or a pair, and there's (shdn't be) no two way abt it.


    By Blogger |e|L|L|i|s|, at 11:52 pm  

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