Thursday, April 9, 2009

Poll explanation

Help me out here. A student of mine and I were having a friendly little debate and I decided that I needed to poll my "several" (?) readers for their opinions. So, do me a favor and vote.


Tammy said...

a couple to me means 2; if I use several I mean 3-5 and if it is more then I usually use many...I don't know if there is a specific number or not, but this is my particulars

Josh Hargrove said...

Several is a very flexible phrase. I think the quantity associated depends much on the inflection in the voice of the user. For example if I say, "it happened several years ago," you would imagine a much sooner occurrence than were I to write, say, "it happened SEVERAL years ago."

"Several" implies a minimum of three (since "couple" solely occupies the position of pertaining to two only), however can mean many many more ("many many" implies much more than just "many"). However, I would cap the quantity with which "several" can refer to at less than about 20 (at least inasmuch as it concerns years). This number is not arbitrary and I have very good reason for it's designation.

ninepoundhammer said...

I thought about this for several minutes--which turned out to be 3-5.

Anonymous said...

3-5 seems to be the popular consensus. Or at least it has the largest percentage block. I'm going to go ahead and stick my flag in the ground and claim victory. The masses are never wrong, especially when the popular vote is very close.

Although... I suppose my own vote is what sent the "3-5" category into the lead. Ah, no matter! Victory is mine! And now I celebrate!

Your humble disciple, Austin