What is the grammatical issue with the following sentence, if any?

Love is a game between a two.

Someone argued that it is improper the article should be deleted. hence, love is a game between two is the correct form. Which one is correct? is it a matter of grammar or style?

  • 1
    Even when you remove the (totally ungrammatical) indefinite article, Love is a game between two is not an idiomatically natural English statement. Although you might think what "two" refers to is contextually obvious, it really needs to be explicitly stated (Love is a game between two people). Personally I don't much like the use of "between" in this context, so might prefer something like Love is a game involving two people, but opinions may vary on that point. Jul 18, 2017 at 12:03
  • Note that it's quite valid to include the article in contexts like I often see birds in my garden. In fact I can see a dozen right now. But that doesn't work with simple cardinal numbers, so you can't say ??...I can see a two right now. I don't know exactly why the article is required for values like a dozen, a hundred, a thousand, but not for values like two, twenty, ninety-nine. Jul 18, 2017 at 12:13
  • Related: articles before numbers. Jul 18, 2017 at 12:16
  • One does find everyday examples in specific contexts of articles being used before numbers, such as a client saying to an optician: I can see a two, followed by a three. Or a householder saying to a worker putting numbers on a gatepost: Please move the three up slightly. In both cases, the word number is elided. Jul 18, 2017 at 16:30
  • @FumbleFingers you could artfully say "Love is a game between a One and a Two". Not that it would be particularly clever, but you could. "Love is a game between one and two" is considerably better. But this is a very poetic case and I'm just muddying the waters ...
    – Andrew
    Jul 18, 2017 at 16:37

3 Answers 3


The previous comments are correct.

You need to add people because the word two then has a noun to describe or modify.

In the sentence :

Love is a game between two people.

**two = adjective

people= noun**

Because the noun is plural it is not preceded by an indefinite article = a

  • You can also use the word that means two people by saying, "Love is a game between a twosome." It all sounds very flowery though.
    – EllieK
    Jul 18, 2017 at 16:12

It can be correct if the author or speaker is trying to be excessively poetic or frivolous with the expression.

It is not an expression one would use in otherwise normal writing or speech. A simple statement of fact would be:

Love is a game between two people.


[a] cannot be used with the word two, [a] is always used with singular pronouns. For eg "a book", "an elephant".

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