In this audio file, at 1:20, shouldn't it be two burglars?

Source: The ILI English Series, Intermediate 1, Student's Book, page 45

The reporter starts with:

This is a story about a burglar who was caught by a rabbit.

But it finally turns out that there were actually two burglars and he says:

Police later arrested the couple.

I just want to make sure it's the reporter's mistake: is there a contradiction between what the reporter says at the beginning of his report and the final part of his story?

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    If you can clearly hear the audio, then you should transcribe it here and clearly explain why you think it should be "two burglars". Otherwise, if you're asking about what they say because you can't hear it clearly, then that's off-topic because we don't generally provide transcriptions. – Em. Oct 25 '17 at 19:16
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    I can clearly hear the audio: "This is a story about a burglar who was caught by a rabbit", but finally the speaker says: "..._Police later arrested the couple_". – Mori Oct 25 '17 at 19:23
  • The audio clearly says "two young thieves". Why should I listen through the rest of the apparently endless stream of stories? At your time of 1:20 it also clearly says "a burglar". – Weather Vane Oct 25 '17 at 19:24
  • @WeatherVane: This audio file includes two stories. Would you mind going to 1:13 where the second report starts? – Mori Oct 25 '17 at 19:32
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's asking for transcription. – Nathan Tuggy Oct 25 '17 at 20:04

In many languages, the word for one doubles up as the indefinite article. However, in English, the indefinite article a(n) doesn't carry quite as strong a meaning as the numeral.

For example, if I ask "Have you got a brother?" then someone with two brothers is more likely to give an affirmative response ("Yes, I've got two, actually") than a negative one ("No, I've got two"), whereas in the unlikely event that I asked "Have you got one brother?", I would be asking whether you had exactly one brother. Similarly, if someone says "I've got a pen", you can't make any assumptions about how many pens they have in total, but if they say "I've got one pen", that is an affirmation about the number of pens they have.

So the contradiction between "a burglar" and "the couple" isn't as strong as the contradiction between "one burglar" and "the couple" would be.

Nevertheless, it does sound a bit odd.

  • Great example and explanation! 👍 – Mori Oct 27 '17 at 5:43

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