Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In which xkcd is wrong and I use a lot of capital letters just because I feel like it

First read this comic. Then come back and agree with me that it is WRONG.

1. Yes, I am one of those people who says "a couple" is TWO. Period, end of story, I don't care what you think. (Also, re the mouseover text: One. One space. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT SPARKLES, ONLY ONE. Signed, your friendly neighborhood copy editor.)

2. A few: Three or four. Maybe five if I'm feeling benevolent that day or if you claim to be really bad at subitizing. (As an aside: It drives me nuts in novels when the author writes "There were three or four people in the room" or something like that. Which is it? It's not THAT hard to tell the difference between three and four.)

3. Several: 5 to 8 or so. Anything more than that is "a lot."

4. A handful: I don't usually use this in the metaphorical sense of "a small quantity." When I do, it straddles the boundary between "a few" and "several." But usually this is what I mean by a handful:

For comparison, this is a fistful:

Handful on left, fistful on right. As you can tell thanks to SCIENCE, a fistful is about twice the size of a handful.

I put some of these back in the bag afterward. "Some" is a quantity I'll leave undefined.


Becky D. said...

Are you low on chocolate? I will bring some this weekend if needed.

The Sojourner said...

Is it free? I never turn down free chocolate.

I'm not nearly as cranky as I sound on my blog, though.

Becky D. said...

I might share my birthday brownies even if you're not really cranky.