Disagreeing with xkcd

xkcd 1070
click to go to xkcd

Let us set stats education aside for a moment and make a cultural comment:

With great respect, xkcd has it wrong: a couple usually means either 1 or 3. From your youth:

  • How long did you work on your homework? A couple of hours. (This means 1.)
  • How many cookies did you take? Just a couple. (This means 3.)

Caveat: this is when referring to a small number of things (as opposed to a “couple” made of people).

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Published by

Tim Erickson

Math-science ed freelancer and sometime math teacher. In 2014–15, at Mills College in Oakland, California.

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