A Happy Couple

weeklyrob: Could I have a couple of those widgets, please?

Undefined Other: Sure! How many do you want?

weeklyrob (internally): A COUPLE.

weeklyrob: Two, please.

6 Responses to A Happy Couple

  1. BruceS March 25, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    In defense of the UO, “couple” is another word that has been so abused by so many for so long that it no longer has a clear meaning in practice. I’ve seen reviews of “sports cars” that had fixed hardtops and back seats (and even back doors in some cases); “bicycles” with three wheels; etc. The language came into being through Intelligent Design, but those Evolutionists keep sinning.

  2. weeklyrob March 25, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    Of course, you’re right, which is why my sighing and bitching is internal. If I had said I wanted three and the UO said, “how many,” I would have just repeated myself.

    Like most things, it depends on context. If I say “a happy couple,” (the title of the post), no one wonders how many are involved.

  3. BruceS March 27, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    I wonder if that’s true in communities that follow the teachings of Joe Smith and Co.* (the multiple-wife bit, not the statutory-rape bit). Do they even use the word “couple” for a man and his multiple wives? If polygamy were more common, I’d expect to hear people say “couple” for a threesome, maybe even a foursome.

    * not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has officially denounced the ways of its founders, but rather of those sects which think Smith was right, like the FLDS.

  4. weeklyrob March 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    I’d GUESS that in those communities, a couple is two people.

  5. BruceS March 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    So is the term “coupling” applicable to >2 carnality? Oops, heading for the gutter again…swerve! No! The other way!
    Of course, there are literally millions of other words people misuse *all the time*. I’m, like, a thousand percent sure of that, you know.
    In 4th grade, my teacher didn’t like that I used the term “most” in something I’d written. I had to replace it with “over 50%” to please her. She said “most” is just too imprecise.

  6. weeklyrob March 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    “Over 50%” is less precise than most, in my opinion.

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