How many is A couple? Here’s the FULL explanation (+10 EXAMPLES)

When we’re looking at words that hold a number meaning, it’s difficult to determine how much something might equal at first. The term “a couple” is no different here. So, how much is a couple? And how can we know when we should use it in speech or writing?

How Many Is A Couple?

The definition of “a couple” in numbers is almost always equal to two. Since a couple refers to two things or people, the term “a couple” refers to the number two used in a sentence. Sometimes, you’ll see “a couple,” meaning more than two, though it’s entirely dependent on the context and the relative number of things. For example, “a couple of times” can mean you’ve done something twice or ten times, depending on the context.

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Is It A Couple Or A Couple Of?

When we use the term “a couple,” the phrase “a couple of” might appear. How do we know when to use which phrase, though? It’s actually not that difficult once you learn a bit about it. So, let’s look at couple vs couple of and see which one will apply to which situation.

Firstly, we use “couple” on its own when we’re referring to “a couple” as a collective noun already. We can say that two people are a “couple,” enough to end the sentence there. We won’t need to explain more about that, though the implication here is that the “couple” will be in a relationship, so if this isn’t the case, then your context is incorrect.

When we’re not using a collective noun, we’ll always default to “a couple of” when we’re talking about things in quantities. If there are two apples, you can say “a couple of apples,” or two people is “a couple of people.” The phrase “a couple of” is the more common way to use the word “couple” in a sentence and is much less restrictive when you’re trying to talk about two things at once.

Is It A Couple Times Or A Couple Of Times?

There is only one grammatically correct answer to this question. As we’ve mentioned above, unless you’re using the collective noun form, you’ll always say “a couple of.” The same rule applies when saying “a couple of times” since we’re referring to the quantity of “times” in the sentence. The “of” is always necessary if you’re using this saying.

However, in informal speaking, it’s okay to say “a couple times,” and it has become more popular over the years. It’s not something you should write down in most situations because it’s really informal (and grammatically incorrect). However, for speaking, it’s acceptable.

10 Examples Of How To Use “A Couple” In A Sentence

Now let’s look at a few examples of using “a couple” in a sentence. You’ll notice that when we’re using it unless we’re talking about a collective of things or people already, then we always follow it with “of” for it to make any sense at all. Let’s see what we mean. After you’ve looked through these examples, you’ll be ready to use “a couple” in your own writing!

  • A couple of apples, please.
  • I need a couple of things before I head out.
  • Can you pick me up a couple of sweets?
  • That boy and girl are a couple.
  • I’ve got a couple of problems.
  • We’ve been there a couple of times.
  • You make a really nice couple.
  • A couple of people are on their way.
  • We are not just a couple of students in this school.
  • You are a couple of idiots!

Synonyms For “A Couple”

Sometimes, synonyms might be the next best thing if you still can’t quite figure out the words you’re using. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge with “a couple” yet, then check out these synonyms and see if one works a little better for you! Finding alternatives to words is a great way to expand your language knowledge while also helping you if you’re struggling to remember how much a couple even means.

  • A pair

This one should only be used when referring to exactly two things.

  • Two or three

If you’re using “a couple” as a relative term, you might not know the exact number, which is why it’s good to say “number or number” as a synonym.

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