Difference Between Few and Couple

Few vs Couple

There are many different ways to express a small quantity or number in English language. Two of the most common words to refer to something in small numbers are few and couple. Many people use these words interchangeably as if they were synonyms. It is frustrating to see people confused about these two words when there are clear differences between the two that will be highlighted in this article.

What does Couple mean?

A couple is a phrase that is normally reserved for something that is in a pair or two in number. It also refers to an event that takes place only two times. If the quantity is two when we are talking about people, events or objects, couple is the word that has to be used. Take a look at the following sentences.

I had a couple of drinks before the dinner.

The couple enjoyed the outing too much.

I only have a couple of jackets to face the winters.

What does Few mean?

Few is a common word to indicate a small quantity of things, people, objects or events. It would be fair to say that whenever we talk about something that is greater than one in quantity but remains confined to several that we are not sure of, few is the word that seems appropriate. When the number of things is great, many is the word that is more appropriate. The quantity is usually between three and five when the word few is used as couple is reserved for two.

When you say a few days, you are not sure how many. For example,

It rained for a few days this month.

It is clear from the sentence that the speaker has not specified the number of days, but he means to make it clear that it rained only on several number of days, not many.

What is the difference between Couple and Few?

• Both couple of and few are used to refer to the fact that we are talking about something that is small in number though couple is specifically reserved for something that is two in quantity whereas few is used when the quantity is greater than two generally.

• Few is anything that is more than one, but not many.

• Couple is also a pair as in an attractive pair or a couple.

• While two is included in a few as it describes a number in unitary digits, couple only applies to two or a pair of the same sort.

• I have met him a couple of times clearly expresses the fact that the meeting took place twice whereas I have met him a few times does not specify the exact number.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Few and a Few
  2. Difference Between Few and Less