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Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?

According to wiktionary:

  1. Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  2. Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  3. (informal) A small number.

According to OED:

  1. two people or things of the same sort considered together: a couple of girls were playing marbles
    'a couple of girls were playing marbles'
  2. [treated as singular or plural] two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually: in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged a honeymoon couple
    'in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged'
    'a honeymoon couple'
  3. informal an[informal] An indefinite small number

Yet my colleague — a native speaker — insists that a couple never means three, although there can be a small error bar on the two. We asked one other native speaker who agrees with him, yet three non-native speakers point at the above-mentioned sources to claim they're wrong. But it's a bit tricky for non-native speakers to claim native speakers are wrong. Note that both native-speakers are from Australia/New Zealand.

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?

According to wiktionary:

  1. Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  2. Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  3. (informal) A small number.

According to OED:

  1. two people or things of the same sort considered together: a couple of girls were playing marbles
  2. [treated as singular or plural] two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually: in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged a honeymoon couple
  3. informal an indefinite small number

Yet my colleague — a native speaker — insists that a couple never means three, although there can be a small error bar on the two. We asked one other native speaker who agrees with him, yet three non-native speakers point at the above-mentioned sources to claim they're wrong. But it's a bit tricky for non-native speakers to claim native speakers are wrong. Note that both native-speakers are from Australia/New Zealand.

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?

According to wiktionary:

  1. Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  2. Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  3. (informal) A small number.

According to OED:

  1. two people or things of the same sort considered together:
    'a couple of girls were playing marbles'
  2. [treated as singular or plural] two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually:
    'in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged'
    'a honeymoon couple'
  3. [informal] An indefinite small number

Yet my colleague — a native speaker — insists that a couple never means three, although there can be a small error bar on the two. We asked one other native speaker who agrees with him, yet three non-native speakers point at the above-mentioned sources to claim they're wrong. But it's a bit tricky for non-native speakers to claim native speakers are wrong. Note that both native-speakers are from Australia/New Zealand.

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Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?

According to wiktionary:

  1. Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  2. Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  3. (informal) A small number.

According to OED:

  1. two people or things of the same sort considered together: a couple of girls were playing marbles
  2. [treated as singular or plural] two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually: in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged a honeymoon couple
  3. informal an indefinite small number

Yet my colleague — a native speaker — insists that a couple never means three, although there can be a small error bar on the two. We asked one other native speaker who agrees with him, yet three non-native speakers point at the above-mentioned sources to claim they're wrong. But it's a bit tricky for non-native speakers to claim native speakers are wrong. Note that both native-speakers are from Australia/New Zealand.

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?

According to wiktionary:

  1. Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  2. Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  3. (informal) A small number.

According to OED:

  1. two people or things of the same sort considered together: a couple of girls were playing marbles
  2. [treated as singular or plural] two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually: in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged a honeymoon couple
  3. informal an indefinite small number

Yet my colleague — a native speaker — insists that a couple never means three, although there can be a small error bar on the two. We asked one other native speaker who agrees with him, yet three non-native speakers point at the above-mentioned sources to claim they're wrong. But it's a bit tricky for non-native speakers to claim native speakers are wrong. Note that both native-speakers are from Australia/New Zealand.

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Does "a couple" always mean two?

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple always means two, or if it can mean more than two.

What does a couple, in particular a couple of weeks, mean to a native speaker?