Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 22:46, 4 December 2012
|Words for Small Sets|
Title text: If things are too quiet, try asking a couple of friends whether "a couple" should always mean "two". As with the question of how many spaces should go after a period, it can turn acrimonious surprisingly fast unless all three of them agree.
This is nerd troll bait. He is attempting to "troll" or get a certain group of people fired up by taking an unpopular side of the argument just to get the other person angry. And I'm taking the bait.
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I disagree on "A Handful" and "Several". A Handful should be about 4 to 7 and several should be 6 to 8, averaging about 7, which sounds just like several. The other two are within the range that makes sense to me. Also, check out how he sneaks "a couple of friends" and "all three of them" into the image text very sneakily. User:Jeff - From the blog
- Dude, that's the point. You've been trolled. --Jimmy C (talk) 11:43, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Several is two or more.
A handful to me is just that. A dozen berries, one hand grenade, 2-3 sticks of TNT, a bird (2 in a bush else where gives 3) or a wild blonde (more than 1 way to be a handful I guess). DruidDriver (talk) 07:09, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
English isn't my natural language, but how common is the word "acrimonious"? Should it be explained? 184.108.40.206 03:40, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
- Online dictionaries should help. I'm using some addons to my Firefox to help me. The simplest meaning for "acrimonious" should be "bitter", but this is still one of those words hard to describe. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:56, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm inclined to interpret the hover text as him saying that a couple does mean more than two. A couple of friends, and then all three of them. However, the entry does not agree with me. Thoughts? 220.127.116.11 09:10, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
- My guess is that the entry interpreted "all three of them agree" as "your couple of friends agree with you". I think Randell would sooner troll than use inconsistent grammar so, I also think Randell was using couple to mean 3 friends. Who PhD (talk) 13:58, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
There is a similar ambiguity in German, where "ein paar", which literally means "a couple", is used to say "a few". In Italian the ambiguity is even stronger, as certain regions tend to use "un paio" only in the literal sense, while others mean it figuratively. A friend of mine came from Tuscany to Sardinia and one day told me: "I asked for a couple of cigarette packs, and the clerk said ok, how many? and I said, a couple, and he answered yes, how many precisely, and I had to say, uh, two? What an idiot". I had to explain to her that where I live it was not THAT straightforward that couple == 2 --18.104.22.168
08:01, 5 June 2014 (UTC)