First off, I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not hold any degrees in English Grammar. Truth is, I don’t hold ANY degrees, other than my Phd in life. However, as I mentioned in my last post, I had the bulk of my education in the 60′s, when life seemed so much simpler. English was always my best subject, and although I struggled a bit through things like “dangling participles”, I soaked a lot of it up and am still able to recall certain “rules” that apply when writing.
The gist of my rant is the word “couple”. Not the context in which you are talking about two people, but the couple that is used more for generic items, such as minutes, dollars, t-shirts, etc.. It seems that it’s becoming more acceptable to write (or maybe it’s a lack of knowledge in grammar) “Give me a couple more minutes.” To most of you, this may sound correct, but the reality is that the word “couple” in this example is not the correct way to say this.
The word ”couple” should be followed by “of”, i.e. a couple of minutes, or a couple of hours. The issue is that we have slackened the definition of “couple”, and have allowed it to refer to a number that is perhaps more than two. Naturally you can’t have a couple of more minutes. So in reality, the word “more” is actually to blame for the misuse of “couple”. If you want more than a couple of minutes, you should say “a few more minutes”, or even “a few minutes”.
But please, I beg of you, do NOT say a “couple minutes” or a “couple days”. This is only showing your lack of grammatical discipline. If you mean “two”, say “two”. If you mean more than two, don’t use “more”.
Just as an afterword, I realize that I likely break a few grammatical rules as well, but I DO try to keep it as error-free as possible. DWF
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